There are only so many ways you can say it, but it's worth repeating: the combination of Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra is one of the all-time best when it comes to performing Russian music for the stage. The recording of the complete Nutcracker is just one example of their particular skills. There is a clarity and precision to the orchestra's playing that gives Tchaikovsky's music sparkle, while Gergiev breathes life into the dances and few moments of drama that are in the story. Even if you are only half-paying attention to it, you can still make out every distinct line, as melodies and countermelodies seamlessly pass from one instrument to another, and every nuance of dynamics and timing. And yet that attention to detail does not detract from the enchantment of the presentation. It's a refreshing reading of the complete ballet that stands in contrast to the often run-of-the-mill and clichéd performances of the Nutcracker Suite.
AllMusic Review by Patsy Morita
|Nutcracker, ballet, Op. 71|