Souvenir de Florence

Choreography by: John Taras

Music by: Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky

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Souvenir de Florence for String Sextet for String Orchestra, Op. 70 (1890)
June 5, 1981, New York City Ballet, Tschaikovsky Festival, New York State Theater
Original Cast
Karin von Aroldingen, Lourdes Lopez, Wilhemina Frankfurt, Stephanie Saland, Sean Lavery, Tracy Bennett, Peter Frame, Kipling Houston

The music for Souvenir de Florence, which in parts is reminiscent of Serenade for Strings, is in four movements and is for violins, violas, and cellos. The lively first movement (allegro con spirito) is choreographed for a 24-member corps de ballet and five principal dancers. The slow second movement (adagio cantabile e con moto) is a romantic theme set on three principal couples and is followed by an allegretto third movement and an allegro vivace fourth which presents the full ensemble of dancers. Souvenir de Florence (Recollection of Florence) was composed in Russia during the summer of 1890, after Tschaikovsky had returned from Italy (where he had written the opera The Queen of Spades). The piece was composed for his patroness, Nadejda von Meck, who was fond of chamber music.
John Taras, formerly Ballet Master with New York City Ballet, had an association with Balanchine and Kirstein beginning in the 1940's. Among his works for New York City Ballet are Scènes de Ballet, The Song of the Nightingale, and Concerto for Piano and Winds, for the 1972 Stravinsky Festival, and Daphnis and Chloe for the 1975 Ravel Festival.