Petipa instructed Tchaikovsky down to the last detail, including the tempo and the number of bars in each section. She creeps downstairs to play with her favourite present, a nutcracker, which comes to life as a handsome prince who whisks her off to the Land of Sweets. The celesta is a keyboard instrument whose hammers hit metal plates, sounding similar to but softer than a glockenspiel; Tchaikovsky had heard one in Paris in and asked his publisher to buy one, hoping to keep it a secret so that no other Russian would compose music for the instrument before him. Notice how Tchaikovsky keeps the sound as crystalline and transparent when he uses the whole orchestra as when there are just a couple of flutes playing. Good question. It survives absolutely anything. The Christmas classic has had a fresh lick of paint in this exciting yet intrinsically romantic recording from the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. With music appealing to both children and adults, this is the perfect album to have on in preparation for Christmas celebrations. Listen to the best Tchaikovsky works on Apple Music and Spotify. Good article, thank you!
For the sweet tooth
So why not join me by titivating your tutu, pulling on your pointe-shoes, and dipping an elegantly extended toe into the magical world of the best ballet music. Explore our selection of ten classic scores which were either composed specifically for the dance, or have become famous because choreographers have employed them for ballets. Tchaikovsky is truly the alpha and omega of ballet music. She creeps downstairs to play with her favourite present, a nutcracker, which comes to life as a handsome prince who whisks her off to the Land of Sweets. His score for The Nutcracker is a perennial Christmas favourite, and contains hundreds of musical sugar-plums. It contains a real sugar-plum too, in the form of a dance for — who else?
The story of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King was transformed into a magical ballet in — and is now a Christmas favourite. A bit like a Tchaikovsky 'Toy Story', the enchanting narrative is full of wonderful characters and follows a young girl called Clara who is given a wooden nutcracker as a present. When the nutcracker comes to life as a handsome prince the two have to escape the Mouse King to reach the Land of Sweets, which is ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy. The two extracts from the suite give us the chance to look at very different dances: the whirling Russian Dance, based on a Ukrainian folk dance, and the elegant Waltz of the Flowers. The Russian Dance - the Trepak - is a Cossack dance normally performed by men who would kick their legs out from a squatting position. In contrast, the Waltz of the Flowers is the final dance of the ballet where all the Sugar Plum Fairy's sweets celebrate Clara and the prince. Listen out for: The different time signatures beats in a bar in each piece. This means it has three beats per bar and gives the waltz its distinct 'oom pah pah' feel. Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky. Russian Dance from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky.
Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker has always been one of my favorite pieces of classical music, and come December, I'm ready to listen to the best recording of the ballet. There's no one perfect Nutcracker , I've found — but there is a Nutcracker for every mood. Recently, I listened to nine leading recordings of the complete ballet once you know the full score, going back to the suite is like lopping the edges off your wide-screen TV. Here's my guide to help you decide which Nutcracker is for you. To learn more about this beloved ballet, listen to Alison Young's feature about Tchaikovsky's masterpiece. This is the John Williams of Nutcracker recordings: sweeping, dramatic, and fast-paced with close attention to detail. The battle scenes are genuinely thrilling, and the dance of the snowflakes is uniquely affecting — buoyed by spare, lucid choral work. When you're ready to sit back with a bowl of popcorn and relish in the action, cue this recording. Under the baton of Bychkov, the Berlin band turn light and airy. The score's sturm und drang is softened in favor of singing strings and whimsical woodwinds.