4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Rattle and Berlin give a marvelous, detailed performance of the famed Nutcracker,
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker (Audio CD)
As a young child, I was fascinated by the Nutcracker. When I heard that Sir Simon Rattle and the mighty Berlin Philharmonic had recorded this masterpiece, I couldn't wait to check it out. And I am quite glad I did. This is a recording that is full of amazing detail and precision - even the negative reviewers admit this. While some have accused this recording of being too "relaxed and uneventful", I find this recording to be full of drama and excitement. Sure, some numbers come across better than others; the "Overture" and "March", as reviewer Santa Fe Listener pointed out, are less than the best. But this is more than made up for with some of the other movements - the "Waltz of the Snowflakes", with the famed boy-choir Libera, is hair-raising.
Other reviewers have commented on Rattle's Tchaikovsky track record - he hasn't done much of him. So it shouldn't be much of a surprise that when he finally turned to him, he would provide a bit of a new look at the composer's music. As much of a Rattle fan as I am, it took me a bit of listening to appreciate it. I found it, well, quite shocking. Rattle certainly wasn't trying to mimic the standard Nutcracker performance and his new approach took some time for me to get used to. But after I adjusted to it, I came to love it more than my other Nutcracker recordings, which are also excellent. Rattle pulls wonderful detail from Berlin (talk about a great orchestra)!, but he avoids sentimentality. Berlin's players are, as always, marvelous - you will likely notice passages that you never noticed before. The 1st oboist, Albrecht Mayer, is especially good.
I dare say that this a must-have. While it may not replace your favorite Nutcracker recordings (although it might), it will provide hours of listening pleasure.