This is obviously weeks too late, because the Daniel Cooper dance was back in Book 1. But if you want an idea of what it would have looked like (and as far as I’m aware, the music is the real thing too), this is it:


4 thoughts on “War and Peace Interlude – A Daniel Cooper

  1. Well done, finding that, Matt!! The music is certainly the same music that is used for the Daniel Cooper in the Bondarchuk film – although the dancers in your clip seem to manage things with a little more dexterity than Natasha’s tipsy old dad and the big grumpy old Marya Dmitrievna Akhrosimiv!

  2. Yes – despite its flaws, I’m a bit of a fan of the Bondarchuk film.

    For those of you who haven’t heard of it, back in the late 60s, the Russians finally decided to make their own film of War and Peace. (It had previously been done by the Americans in the 50s with Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda, etc.)

    They spared no expense, rolled out the entire Russian army, and created a seven-hour film that came out, a bit like Lord of the Rings, as four separate films. It was directed by Sergei Bondarchuk, who also played Pierre in the film (albeit turning him from a young man into a guy clearly in his late 40s, if not early 50s).

    It’s not perfect, but I would have to say, as far as epic films go, the only film I’ve seen to top it in spectacle has been Return of the King and even then, Return of the King needed to use a lot of computer animation – whereas it’s all the real thing in War and Peace.

    It’s hard to get hold of here in Australia, but to those of you who are fans of the book, I’d recommend seeing it . . . after you’ve finished the book, however, because there are too many good surprises in reading this book to ruin it by seeing a movie first.

    When we reach the end of the year, I’ll do some reviews and suggestions on how to track down War and Peace films/TV series, but in the meantime, I’d continue to enjoy the book.

    But to get back to the Daniel Cooper, Ian, the first thing I noticed was that the music here was the music from the Bondarchuk film – so I assume that the dance is reasonably authentic as well. It’s funny, actually, because Tolstoy’s characters are so universal, that we it sometimes takes things like this to remind us that they’re also quite distinctly Russian.

  3. It would be nice to mention that dance was performed and recreated by ensemble “Barynya” for Russian Nobility Ball 2008 in New York City.

    Arrangement Anatoly Trofimov, choreography Valentina Kvasova, costumes Yana Brink and Svetlana Gavrilova, idea Mikhail Smirnov, MUSICIANS: Leonid Bruk (balalaika contrabass), Lev Zabeginsky (balalaika), Victor Danilochkin (bayan), Mikhail Smirnov (guitar), DANCERS: Mikhail Nesterenko, Olga Chpitalnaia, Ganna Makarova, Alexey Maltsev.


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