Les Ballets Russes Vol. 8

'Scheherazade' and 'Scythian Suite'


For 20 years from 1909 to 1929, the Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev and his Russian ballet staged one of the 20th century’s most incredible artistic adventures, redefining theatre, music and dance in every performance.

Serge Prokofiev wrote his Scythian Suite in 1914, in an effort to “out primitive” Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Diaghilev however, rejected the score; from which Prokofiev would compile his Scythian Suite op. 20. Alas, even in its truncated version the music fared no better – owing to the privations of the First World War it was nearly impossible to assemble enough musicians for Prokofiev’s enormous orchestra and when finally premiered in 1916, it outraged the Soviet critics, and even Glazunov made a noisy exit from the concert hall!

In contrast, Rimsky-Korsakov’s musical fairy tale Sheherazade almost immediately established itself as a very popular concert work – one of the first scores Diaghilev would produce in the second season of the Ballets Russes.

Haenssler CLASSIC’s Ballets Russes series is unrivaled for completeness and includes many works never before recorded. Each booklet includes historic details of the works performance and artwork from the original productions. World-renowned choreographer John Neumeier has overseen the production of the entire series.

Available on CD and MP3 download, 1.06 hrs, 2012.