Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky

Nutcracker, ballet, Op. 71

    Description by Rovi Staff

    Tchaikovsky's ballet of the Nutcracker is based on Alexandre Dumas' translation of the original tale by E.T.A. Hoffman. Act One tells a story of how little Clara aids her magical Christmas gift (a nutcracker in the form of a soldier) defeat an army of mice. As a reward, in Act Two, he takes her to his magic kingdom and introduces her to a variety of subjects in a colorful stream of character dances. Tchaikovsky was initially displeased with the scenario for the ballet, which would be his last, because it lacked real drama. However, he reconciled himself to it and completed the Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a, which was popular from its first performance, before going on to complete the entire ballet. Those seven dances -- including the familiar Spanish (Chocolate), Arab (Coffee), Chinese (Tea), and Russian dances -- and the overture are essentially the same as they appeared in the final, full ballet. To these he added interludes and scenes, with music and orchestrations that are just as delightful. His supply of lovely themes is endless, and he constantly provides brilliant orchestration. Unique features of his instrumentation include the Overture, which is entirely without cellos and double basses; the "Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy," which was inspired by the new celesta, an instrument Tchaikovsky encountered in Paris while working on the score; and the "Waltz of the Snowflakes," which uses a children's chorus. He also used toy instruments, perfectly in keeping with a story for children. The ballet was not as successful as his other stage works when it first appeared, however, now the traditional Christmas ballet is so popular that its annual performance keeps many a ballet company afloat. If all you know of this ballet is the famous suite, by all means hear the entire work.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Minature Overture
    2. Scena (No. 1): The Decoration of the Christmas Tree
    3. (No. 2) March
    4. (No. 3) Children's Galop & Dance of the Parents
    5. (No. 4) Dance Scena (Arrival of Drosselmayer)
    6. Scena (No. 5) & Grandfather's Dance
    7. Scena (No. 6) (Departure of the Guests - Night)
    8. Scena (No. 7): The Battle and Transformation
    9. Scena (No. 8) (The Journey through the Snow / The Forest of Fir Thees in Winter)
    10. (No. 9) Waltz of the Snowflakes
    11. Scena (No. 10) (The Magic Castle)
    12. Scena (No. 11) (Arrival of Clara and the Nutcracker)
    13. Divertissement (No. 12): Spanish Dance (Chocolate)
    14. Divertissement (No. 12): Arabian Dance (Coffee)
    15. Divertissement (No. 12): Chinese Dance (Tea)
    16. Divertissement (No. 12): Trepak (Russian Dance)
    17. Divertissement (No. 12): Dance of the Reed-Pipes (Mirlitons)
    18. Divertissement (No. 12): Mother Gigogne & the Clowns
    19. (No. 13) Waltz of the Flowers
    20. (No. 14) Pas de deux: Intrada (The Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker)
    21. (No. 14) Pas de deux: Variation 1: Tarantella
    22. (No. 14) Pas de deux: Variation 2: Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy
    23. (No. 14) Pas de deux: Coda
    24. (No. 15) Final Waltz and Apotheosis

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Decca / Philips 4788977
    2015 Klanglogo KL 1516
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4794646
    2015 Steinway & Sons STNS 30040
    2014 Brilliant Classics 94949BR
    2014 Newton Classics 8802166
    2014 Opus KURA OPK 7070
    2014 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 EMI / EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099943330
    2012 Naxos 8501055
    2012 Decca / Mercury Living Presence 001653302
    2012 Decca
    2012 Melodiya MELCD 1001951
    2011 Warner Classics
    2011 Decca
    2011 Ondine ODE 11802D
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099996702
    2010 Sonoma 179
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94031
    2010 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099996769
    2010 Decca
    2010 RPO 6
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon / Universal 4779088
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099963162
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099964638
    2010 EMI Classics
    2009 Decca
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 EMI Classics
    2009 Denon Records 00795041941169
    2009 Decca 4800557
    2009 X5 Music Group 15898
    2009 X5 Music Group 15618
    2008 KOCH Classics 7745
    2007 Philips
    2007 PentaTone Classics 5186091
    2007 Kultur 4156
    2007 EMI Music Distribution 93233
    2006 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2006 Artemis Records 1947
    2005 Madacy 50503
    2005 Nonesuch
    2005 Moscow Studio Archives 20010
    2005 Empire 450766
    2005 Mercury Living Presence / Mercury 6623
    2005 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243586076
    2004 DG Deutsche Grammophon 000345202
    2003 Caprice Records 21729
    2003 CDK Music CDKM1002
    2003 RCA Red Seal 55707
    2002 Intersound 2606
    2001 Capriccio Records 10923
    2001 Capriccio Records 51009
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 57221
    2001 High Definition Classics 68
    2001 Lifestyles 315015
    2000 Pro Organo 7115
    2000 Brasil Meta Cultural / Lindoro 102
    1999 Decca 4604112
    1999 Angel Records / Warner Classics 7243573624
    1998 Decca
    1998 Philips 462114
    1997 Capitol / EMI Music Distribution 66230
    1997 Melodiya 40067
    1997 Columbia River Entertainment Group / VMK 1083
    1996 Royal Opera House Heritage Series 012
    1996 Vanguard 52
    1995 London 444827
    1994 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4458842
    1994 Naxos 550324/5
    1994 Philips 442562
    1994 Conifer 16074
    1993 Elektra / Nonesuch 79294
    1993 EMI Music Distribution CD-CFPD4706
    1992 Sony Music Distribution 31806
    1992 RCA / RCA Victor 55233
    1992 DG Deutsche Grammophon 435619
    1991 RCA Victor Red Seal / RCA 60465
    1991 Mercury Living Presence / Mercury / PolyGram 432750
    1991 Decca / Philips
    1990 Philips 420237
    1989 London 425509
    1986 Telarc Distribution 80137
    1986 EMI Music Distribution 47267
    Menus & Music 111
    O'Brien Enterprises
    Sonoma SBX 20573
    EMI Music Distribution 4610
    EMI Music Distribution 54649
    Spectrum Classical 4052
    Video Land Klassik 114
    RCA 61704
    Pickwick 35
    Bescol 505
    Caedmon Compact Discs 128
    Summit Records DCD-147
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 471228
    Philips 464747
    Vox 204
    GSP Recordings 1011