What in your opinion is so extraordinary or unconventional that a conductor sees the Nutcracker in symphonic terms? It IS a symphonic score, even if one written for the stage, which is exactly what makes Tchaikovsky's work stand out from the ballet compositions of most of his contemporaries - Delibes excepted. I still have to hear the first CD recording that does not treat the Nutcracker in symphonic terms. Do you know any? Rattle's rendition is in no way revelatory in this respect and using that in his defense is as much to the point as congratulating him for seeing Beethoven or Mahler in symphonic terms. Yet what more successful recordings of the Nutcracker all do achieve is combining the symphonic aspect with the narrative (it still tells a story), the evocative power and special atmosphere of this score - which is not the same as seeing the Nutcracker as a dance accompaniment. All these aspects are underplayed in Rattle's version and have been rendered a lot more convincingly by Dorati, Gergiev, Bychkov, Ansermet, Svetlanov, Mravinsky, Jansons, Ashkenazy, etc.