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CD Feature/ Tchaikovsky: "The Nutcracker"

img  Tobias

As someone with a broad taste and a willingness to try new things, you will probably know this situation: You buy yourself an album and it turns out you don’t like it. At first, that is. For some reason, though, you decide against going back to your local CD-shop to exchange it for another one and keep on listening to it. Still reluctantly. It grows on you. And then, in a single, unexpected moment, it suddenly reveals its secrets to you. You fall in love with the music and vow never to stop listening to it. And you can’t possibly understand why on earth you didn’t see all this beauty rght from the beginning. That, in a nutshell, is also the history of the Nutcracker.

For, if we may believe some sources, it was only with extreme averseness, that Tchaikovsky began work on what was to become his most popular piece. Quite possibly the depressing thoughts he entertained in the early phase of composing stemmed from the story, which served as a blueprint for this ballet-suite: E.T.A. Hofman’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”, according to the "Ballet Minnesota", “a morbid story never intended for children which intended to show the depraved and desperate side of mankind.” Happy stuff indeed. The deeper he got, however, the more he started to enjoy things. Soon, he was in a creative rush second to none in history – “The Nutcracker” is not only a fairy tale when it comes to the plot, but too good to be true in musical terms as well. It scintilates with dreamy ambiances and colourful rhythms, sputters melodies catchy as those in Mozart’s “Zauberflöte” and striking like Beethoven’s fifth, lets time stand still in theatrical magic, while passing you by like a steam train. As interpretations go, there are two polarities: One can either focus on the danceable side of the piece, on its pulse and its power. Or one can accentuate the fabolous ambiance, the childlike nature, the musical candyfloss. Don Jackson and the London Symphony Orchestra have opted for the latter: Their “Nutcracker” is standing next to the chimney, smells of spice and oranges and carries a soft smile, rather than sharp teeth.

It’s a loveable creature and excellent for all those who who wished it could be Christmas every day. And highlighting the melodies instead of the rhythm makes you realize how many magnificent themes this musical firework offers, how many of them you already knew and how many great ones you didn’t. As someone with a broad taste and a willingness to try new things, you will probably already own a copy of  “The Nutcracker”. And if you don’t, you can enter your local CD-shop without risk – you won’t want to exchange this one for anything in the world.

Homepage: DTS Entertainment

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