Don't be put off that this Nutcracker is played by the Utah Symphony. It is first class in every way in the glorious sound that Vanguard lavished on the orchestra.Maurice Abravanel was one of the most significant theater conducters of the 20th century. You can feel immediately that he grasps the balletic nature as well as the symphonic majesty of Tchaikovsky's score. The interpretation is brisk, light, nimble, well balanced and masterfully cohesive. Right from the beginning of the overture you will understand what I mean! The playing of the Utah Symphony is transparent, clean, and full of color. You can tell they enjoy playing it! I bought this recording years ago on Vanguard Everyman LPs. The CD transfer is excellent. Grab the it while you can still get it!
Editorial Reviews - Amazon.com
Charles Mackerras is one of the most purely musical and versatile conductors around. In fact, he's never made a bad record, and this Nutcracker is outstanding… He brings superb drama to the action sequences: the battle with the Mouse King, bustling Christmas scenes at the opening, and the "transformation" of the Christmas tree. In the second act (which is where most of the famous Suite comes from), each of the dances is sharply characterized. In short, a great performance. –David Hurwitz
The box set comprised 100 volumes featuring 72 pianists of the 20th century, each volume with two CDs and a booklet about the life and work of the featured pianist. The set contains a variety of composers from different eras, from Baroque to Contemporary classical.