Swan Lake

Swan Lake is a classical ballet masterpiece that is perhaps one of the most well-known and well-loved compositions ever created for the ballet.  The ballet was written in 1875-1876 by Pyotr Ilytch Tchaikovsky, and premiered in 1877.


Marching band arranger John Fischer's interpretation of the ballet tells the timeless love story that mixes magic, tragedy, and romance. It features Prince Siegfried and a lovely swan princess named Odette. Under the spell of a sorcerer, Odette spends her days as a swan swimming on a lake of tears and her nights in her beautiful human form.

The couple quickly falls in love. Confusion, forgiveness, and a happy ending with Siegfried and Odette together forever round off the ballet.

Difficulty:  Medium Hard     Grade:  4

Public Domain music, no rights required

Mvt. I - Act 1 Introduction

The introduction welcomes us to the story by giving us a glimpse into several themes of the ballet.  We are introduced to our princess swan, as well as to Prince Siegfried.  The beauty and serenity give way to a driving development, which brings us back to the opening theme in a much fuller form.

Mvt. II - Danses de Petites Cygnes - Danse Hongroise

A famous dance from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, from the ballet’s second act, the fourth movement of No. 13. Translated from French, it means "Dance of the Little Swans", also known as "Dance of the cygnets". It is very challenging because all dancers must look the same.  Danse Hongroise, the Hungarian dance, is a joyous full-ensemble piece full of fast tempos and challenging technical rhythms.

Mvt. III - Swan Theme

Perhaps one of the most famous 'leitmotifs', this is a theme that everyone knows, even if they are unfamiliar with the ballet!  Tchaikovsky wrote this theme not for the 1877 ballet originally, but for a mini-ballet he wrote for his niece and nephew entitled the Lake of the Swans.

Mvt. IV - No. 18 Scene - No 29 Scene Finale

The scene opens with the Prince being wooed by several princesses and their dances, but he is not impressed.  Enter the sorcerer, who casts a spell on his daughter to make her look like Odette, the one the prince has fallen in love with.  He ends up proposing to her by mistake, as Odette innocently watches from afar.  Realizing his mistake, he rushes to apologize and to be with Odette.