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 names of Johann Sebastian Bach, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff do not necessarily conjure images and sounds of jazz in one's mind, that is until one has listened to recordings by the Classical Jazz Quartet. Although these musicians utilize the same instruments as the Modern Jazz Quartet, they are in no way clones or copycats of that groundbreaking group. They have very much their own sound and style. This is not surprising given the huge talent of the musicians involved; all four are virtuosos on their respective instruments. The themes, although composed in a different time and place, become excellent vehicles for complex, sometimes, bluesy, often swinging and always fresh improvisations in the hands of these musicians. And although one might think of any recording billed as "classical meets jazz" as background music, this music definitely is not. The double CD consists of the group's three previously released recordings, plus one bonus track featuring their interpretation of Handel's Hallelujah.
P. I. Tchaikovsky is considered to be Russia’s great symphonic composer. In his music he achieved a synthesis of the national musical language of Russia and the compositional forms of the western European Romantics. His most famous ballets enjoy a position of honor in the Classical Ballet repertoire on account of their melodic intensity and instrumental brilliance. In the fairy tale “The Nutcracker and the King of the Mice” written by the German Romantic E. T. A. Hoffmann and published in 1814, on which Tchaikovsky’s ballet is based, Christmas provides the realistic setting for a fantastic plot. Fiction and reality are woven together by means of strange and wondrous occurrences to produce a fascinating and unfathomable labyrinth. Both Hoffmann and Tchaikovsky, who began to compose the ballet in his fiftieth year, could identify with the literary figure of the watchmaker Drosselmeier, who gives order to his life through his work. In 1999, exactly 107 years – to the day – after the first performance in St. Petersburg, Patrice Bart’s choreography of Tchaikovsky’s worldwide success The Nutcracker was premiered at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin. Bart placed a prologue before the ballet in which Marie is abducted as a child and in which everything is placed in a modern context.