A quick glance at the cover of this recording of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker might cause some to mistake it for the original orchestral music, because the words "arranged for solo piano" are in the smallest print. Stewart Goodyear's piano arrangement of the complete ballet is a fascinating example of the art of transcription, and the pianist deserves credit not only for his ingenious handling of Tchaikovsky's orchestration in terms of the keyboard's sonorities, but also for playing with close attention to details and tone colors that give the music its fantastic character. This Steinway & Sons recording is certainly a delight for its energy and brilliance, and fans of piano music will appreciate Goodyear's cleverness in adapting such perennial favorites as the Overture, the March, the Divertissements, and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, which are familiar as the Nutcracker Suite. But the full ballet may be a bit much in piano reduction, and unless one is prepared to hear all 82 minutes of this piano version, The Nutcracker is best enjoyed in its full score.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson