Anton Simon's Souvenir de Bal and that Corsaire variation

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souvenir.jpgFor year's I've been intrigued by the music for the female variation from Le Corsaire (the one with the Italian fouett├ęs at the end), noting that just very occasionally, you see it attributed to Anton Simon (1850-1916) rather than Riccardo Drigo who is the acknowledged as the composer of the pas de deux as a whole. How could one of the most famous solos in the ballet repertoire be so frequently misattributed?

When I wanted to refer to this solo in an article I wrote in 2000 ("Can I have the wrong music please?") I just risked it and called it Anton Simon's Souvenir de Bal, even though I had never seen any proof that this was true, just a single reference on a CD inlay card. The British Library has a book of parlour pieces by Anton Simon which would have settled it one way or another, but it's now 7 years since I wrote the article, and I've never found the time to go there, and search as I might, I've never come across a single piece by Simon anywhere.

And then, I just stumbled across it, literally, as I was sorting some books out at home. (To the torment of friends, family and significant others, I hoard second hand music. I started when I was about 6, and I still can't stop myself). I'd spread the contents of my shelves on the floor to put it into rough alphabetical order, and tripped over an album containing a number of pieces by East European composers, published around 1916 by Edwin Ashdown. Flicking through it to see whether this was a centimetre of shelf-space that I could reclaim for something better, I noticed a Berceuse by Anton Simon. Was there any chance, I thought, that the Souvenir de Bal was in here too? And blow me down, there it was - it's been on my shelves since I was a child - I probably played it once before I knew what it was, if you see what I mean.

So here's a scan of the first page, for the two or three other people in the world that might be as interested as I am to see the proof on paper at last. All credit to the people who've created some marvellous pages on Amazon and Wikipedia and given Simon his due.

Ballet on CD: A guide for performance and listening
MrLopez's pages on Petipa and other topics at wikipedia
Another page by me on things I'm glad I didn't throw away

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1 Comment

Hello. I just wanted to thank you for your complement on my wikipedia/amazon articles, and for posting the excerpt from Simon's composition!

Do you have any other information on the composer? --Adam :)

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on May 17, 2007 10:01 AM.

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Adam Lopez on Anton Simon's Souvenir de Bal and that Corsaire variation: Hello. I just wanted to thank you for your complem