After hearing the ballet Sylvia, Tchaikovsky said that "Had I known that music, I would not have written Swan Lake." Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of French ballet masters' Herold, Adam and Delibes
International success arrived at last for the composer Ferdinand Herold, with his works Zampa and Le Pré aux clercs. However it was in the world of ballet where Herold was something of a revolutionary. Disregarding the existing tradition of rehashing popular tunes from the day to create a ballet score, Herold was quite keen to compose more original music. One of his ballets is still very popular today, La Fille mal gardée.
In the audience for Herold's last great success Le Pré aux clercs, was his friend and fellow composer Adolphe Adam. Adam considered that in the world of ballet, Herold had no rival, although he would go on to outshine Herold with his ballet Giselle. After Herold's early death, Adam was steadily developing his own career in music, including one of his biggest theatrical successes from the time, Le chalet.