P. I. Tchaikovsky is considered to be Russia’s great symphonic composer. In his music he achieved a synthesis of the national musical language of Russia and the compositional forms of the western European Romantics. His most famous ballets enjoy a position of honor in the Classical Ballet repertoire on account of their melodic intensity and instrumental brilliance. In the fairy tale “The Nutcracker and the King of the Mice” written by the German Romantic E. T. A. Hoffmann and published in 1814, on which Tchaikovsky’s ballet is based, Christmas provides the realistic setting for a fantastic plot. Fiction and reality are woven together by means of strange and wondrous occurrences to produce a fascinating and unfathomable labyrinth. Both Hoffmann and Tchaikovsky, who began to compose the ballet in his fiftieth year, could identify with the literary figure of the watchmaker Drosselmeier, who gives order to his life through his work. In 1999, exactly 107 years – to the day – after the first performance in St. Petersburg, Patrice Bart’s choreography of Tchaikovsky’s worldwide success The Nutcracker was premiered at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin. Bart placed a prologue before the ballet in which Marie is abducted as a child and in which everything is placed in a modern context.
Tchaikovsky’s most famous work, The Nutcracker, is presented in this stunning new recording by the world’s greatest orchestra, the Berliner Philharmoniker, under the baton of their celebrated conductor Sir Simon Rattle. This musical fairytale follows Clara and her unusual prince and protector, The Nutcracker, through adventures and exotic delights in the magical Kingdom of Sweets.
Eugene Ormandy's disc of Nutcracker excerpts, including the entire "suite" plus a good bit of additional music (Act 1's journey through the snow and Waltz of the Snowflakes, along with some more Act 2 dances, including the Final Waltz and Apotheosis) must be one of the biggest selling records of all time… Sounding better than ever, and at a budget price, this disc deserves to sell another few million copies. [11/8/2003] –David Hurwitz
Don't be put off that this Nutcracker is played by the Utah Symphony. It is first class in every way in the glorious sound that Vanguard lavished on the orchestra.Maurice Abravanel was one of the most significant theater conducters of the 20th century. You can feel immediately that he grasps the balletic nature as well as the symphonic majesty of Tchaikovsky's score. The interpretation is brisk, light, nimble, well balanced and masterfully cohesive. Right from the beginning of the overture you will understand what I mean! The playing of the Utah Symphony is transparent, clean, and full of color. You can tell they enjoy playing it! I bought this recording years ago on Vanguard Everyman LPs. The CD transfer is excellent. Grab the it while you can still get it!
This is no ordinary Nutcracker; it is a quintessentially Australian reinterpretation created by the incomparable Graeme Murphy, who was for many years the driving spirit of the Sydney Dance Company. It is a reinterpretation that celebrates the history of ballet in Australia, and of the Australian Ballet itself with its links to the great Russian ballet tradition.
Eugene Ormandy's disc of Nutcracker excerpts, including the entire "suite" plus a good bit of additional music (Act 1's journey through the snow and Waltz of the Snowflakes, along with some more Act 2 dances, including the Final Waltz and Apotheosis) must be one of the biggest selling records of all time… Sounding better than ever, and at a budget price, this disc deserves to sell another few million copies. [11/8/2003]