London Sinfonietta, Oliver Knussen
The Prince of the Pagodas, Op. 57
Ballet in three acts
The rarest of the rare. Long deleted and not available to order. First complete recording!
The Prince of the Pagodas was written by John Cranko and has some parallels to the Shakespeare play King Lear. In The Prince of the Pagodas, an Emperor must decide which of his two daughters should inherit the throne, and he chooses the evil older sister Belle Epine over the young and beautiful Belle Rose. Belle Rose is taken by magical flying frogs to Pagoda Land, and meets the Prince of Pagoda Land disguised as the Salamander. Belle Rose and the Prince return to the land of her father and confront her evil sister, in the end driving her away. Britten incorporated many elements of Balinese gamelan music into the score of The Prince of the Pagodas, including simulating the seven-tone pelog tuning on Western instruments. Productions of this ballet are infrequent enough that they can be counted on fingers alone. A rare item to say the least.