Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Mstislav Rostropovich

Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite

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Though it charted in late 2009 and again in early 2019, this version of the Nutcracker Suite was recorded by Mstislav Rostropovich and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1978, in sessions that also included the Tchaikovsky ballet suites Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. Effervescent, high-contrast performances by the orchestra make for a definite version that found a digital audience three decades later when Deutsche Grammophon issued the 23-minute Nutcracker portion by itself in 2009. The release made an appearance at number 12 on the U.S. classical albums chart that year. Nearly a decade later, it landed on the Billboard 200 (number 179) as well as reaching the Top 50 of the Holiday Albums chart after Billboard tweaked its formula for weighing different types of streams.

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