La Nouvelle Cythère


Germaine Tailleferre had a lively relationship with the foreign ballet companies in Paris during the 1920s. Two works written for the Ballets Suédois : Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel (a group project with the other members of the Group des Six), and Le Marchand d'Oiseaux, had great critical and public success. The Ballets Russes of the great Russian impressario Diaghilev was also closely tied with the Group des Six, producing works by Milhaud (Le Train Bleu), Auric (Les Fâcheux, Les Matelots and La Pastorale) and Poulenc (Les Biches) and using the Overture to Le Marchand D'Oiseaux as an orchestral interlude to several productions .

In 1924, Diaghilev commissioned Tailleferre to write a Ballet based on "Le Voyage Autour du Monde" de Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, who discovered the Island of Tahiti during the reign of Louis XV. The Ballet was to be called "La Nouvelle Cythère" (Cythère is the mythical home of Venus, the Goddess of Love) in honor of the warm welcome that he and his crew received from the Female inhabitants of the Island. Both the exotic subject and the 18th century atmosphere were appealing to Tailleferre and she accepted the commission. The work was scheduled for première during the 1929 season of the Ballets Russes, but unfortunately, the death of Diaghilev lead to the cancellation of the entire season.

The work was considered to be lost, but was rediscovered in two-piano short score form. This version has been recorded for CD by the Clinton/ Narboni Piano Duo for Elan recordings

In order for the work to be presented with orchestra, Musik Fabrik asked Desiré Dondeyne, a noted French composer and close collaborator with Taillefere during her later years (orchestrating the Concerto de la Fidelité for High Voice and Orchestra when her eyesight began to fail during the last year of her life.), to orchestrate this work for Symphony Orchestra (2222/2230 harp tymp 3 perc strings)

This 25 minute work is in the manner of a French Baroque Suite in ten movements 1. Prelude, 2. Galop 3. Scène 4. Final 5. Pavane 6. Nocturne 7. Bucolique 8. Alla Marcia 9. Menuet and 10. Final et Coda. The work may be presented either as a ballet or as an instrumental suite for Orchestra concerts.

Knowing Tailleferre's great love for wind orchestras,Tailleferre Scholar Paul Wehage has orchestrated the work for Concert Band which is also published by Musik Fabrik. This version uses the harpsichord and Harp to add color and lightness to the winds.


Recordings of La Nouvelle Cythère available from

Germaine Tailleferrre - Music for Two Pianos and Piano Four-Hands performed by the Clinton/Narboni Duo

Contains many works for two pianos published by Musik Fabrik, including the Toccata written for the Piano Duo Gold and Fitzdale, Intermezzo, Fandango, The Sonata for Two Pianos and the complete Ballet La Nouvelle Cythère written for the Ballet Russes in 1929. This recording was featured on Gramaphone at the time of it's release in 1998. $16.95 from

Versions of La Nouvelle Cythère available from Musik Fabrik

La Nouvelle Cythère, Ballet pour Deux Pianos (Version originale)ca 25 minutes 44€95 Hear Real Media exerpts at des extrait en Real Media at



La Nouvelle Cythère, Ballet Orchestré par Paul Wehage pour Orchestre d'Harmonie/Concert Band

Study Score 44€95


Duration ca 25 minutes

La Nouvelle Cythère, Ballet Orchestré par Paul Wehage pour Orchestre d'Harmonie/Concert Band Score and Parts 207€.00


Duration ca 25 minutes

Trois Danses extraites de la Nouvelle Cythère pour Flûte ou hautbois ou violon et Piano 14€95

Hear a Preview/Ecoutez :


Trois Danses extraites de la Nouvelle Cythère pour Clarinette ou Saxophone Soprano en Sib et Piano 14€95


Trois Danses extraites de la Nouvelle Cythère pour Saxophone Alto en Mib et Piano 14€95