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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker

Double CD

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
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Audio CD, Double CD, 1 Nov 2010
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Berliner Philharmoniker
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Composer: Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky
  • Audio CD (1 Nov. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,720 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Miniature Overture
  2. No. 1 - The Decoration of the Christmas Tree
  3. No. 2 - March
  4. No. 3 - Children's Galop and Entry of the Parents
  5. No. 4 - Arrival of Drosselmeyer
  6. No. 5 - Scene - Grandfather's Dance
  7. No. 6 - Clara and the Nutcracker
  8. No. 7 - The Battle
  9. No. 8 - In the Pine Forest
  10. No. 9 - Waltz of the Snowflakes

Disc: 2

  1. No. 10 - The Kingdom of Sweets
  2. No. 11 - Clara and the Prince
  3. Chocolate: Spanish Dance
  4. Coffee: Arabian Dance
  5. Tea: Chinese Dance
  6. Trepak: Russian Dance
  7. Dance of the Reed Pipes
  8. Mother Gigogne
  9. No. 13 - Waltz of the Flowers
  10. No. 14 - Pas de deux
  11. Variation I: Tarantella
  12. Variation II: Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy
  13. Coda
  14. No. 15 - Final Waltz and Apotheosis

Product description

Product Description

Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker have recorded the most performed ballet of all time, Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. The release marks the conductor's first Tchaikovsky recording. This recording also features an appearance by the boy band Libera.

The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1891. It has since become a Christmas tradition in many countries around the world.

Simon Rattle is an award-winning conductor, and Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Berliner Philharmoniker orchestra.

BBC Review

Simon Rattle has produced a conception-buster of a disc here. As a general rule, The Nutcracker feels like the comfort blanket of the ballet repertoire: a much-loved, known quantity of solid, 19th century sumptous prettiness. However, Rattle has taken his expertise in early 20th century music and brilliantly applied it backwards to Tchaikovsky. The result is enlightening. You clearly hear how Act I inspired Stravinsky when writing Petrushka, and there's also more than a whisper of Ravel in the overall tone of bright, nostalgic modernity.

The Nutcracker's action is set on Christmas Eve, when Clara is given a nutcracker toy by her mysterious godfather. At midnight the toy comes alive. After Clara helps him to conquor the evil Mouse King in battle, he turns into a prince and leads her to the Land of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy treats them to a series of fantastic dances. These dances make up one of the few balletic divertissements (diversions from the main plot) that is indisputably integral to the evenings enjoyment, rather than the cue for non-hardcore ballet fans to start clock-watching. The reason is that they include many of the most memorable and popular pieces in the whole classical canon, such as Waltz of the Flowers and Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. It's so infectiously, festively fun that even the Berlin Philharmoniker, famed more for their rich, smooth perfection than for letting their hair down, has fallen into party mode, albeit of the cocktail rather than the student shin-dig variety. The Battle crackles brightly with military tension, half-aware that the most deadly weapon will turn out to be a thrown slipper. Later, in the smouldering coffee dance, the clarinet langourously rises and snakes over the orchestra like an exotic swirl of steam rising up from the dark spiciness of the cup beneath.

The recording is released in three editions. Whilst the single-CD edition contains musical highlights, this performance is worth owning in full. Of the two double-CD, complete-work options, there is a Standard Edition or an Experience Edition, the latter of which includes a larger hardback book, greater online content, and a free 24-hour pass to the Berlin Philharmoniker's online concert hall.

--Charlotte Gardner

Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window

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