The Nutcracker [download]
Valery Gergiev conductor
Release date 14th October
Catalogue number MAR0593
Duration 129m 02s
Format 2 SACD Hyrbid
2 DISC JEWEL CASE, 26PP BOOKLET
Includes multi-channel 5.0 and stereo mixes
Notes in English / en Français / auf Deutsch / на русском языке
Producer Vladimir Ryabenko
Engineering, mixing & mastering Vladimir Ryabenko
Recorded in the Hall of The Mariinsky Theatre
The Nutcracker - 16th June & 30th December 2015
Symphony No 4 - 10th June & 29th September 2015
Classic FM Album of the Week
***** “[an] impeccable sense of structural continuity and pacing … once again Gergiev paints Tchaikovsky’s dream-world in the boldest colours, from the dark subterranean sounds that announce the exciting battle scene in Act 1 to the magical and glistening bright lights in the Land of Sweets in Act II. The Mariinsky Orchestra plays the score with theatrical verve and virtuosity, and the crystal-clear recording really brings out all the subtle inner details of Tchaikovsky’s orchestration.” BBC Music Magazine
**** Valery Gergiev conducts the orchestra he made his own with colourful panache, the tempos very much within the framework that dancers would expect. It oozes virtuosity, the sparkling woodwind and robust brass department adoring the powerful strings. Yorkshire Post
BBC RADIO 3 RECORD REVIEW DISC OF THE WEEK 'You can tell this an orchestra that knows Nutcracker like no other' BBC Radio 3 Record Review
‘With no extraneous bumps, coughs or sneezes - and with no need for the conductor to compromise his artistic vision in order to accommodate dancers - this recording preserves a performance that is really rather good. Well sculpted and balanced, it is also notably alive to the fine detail of the score.’ MusicWeb International
On the 18th December, 1892 at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, The Nutcracker was first introduced to the world. Now, almost 125 years since that opening night and from the very same hall, the Mariinsky’s current Artistic Director, Valery Gergiev, reveals a perfectly judged interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s ballet masterpiece.
Tchaikovsky was a pioneer, his music a new style that combined developments of the Western European musical tradition while remaining distinctively Russian. From an early age he had relished stage works involving magic or fantasy such as Weber’s Der Freischütz and Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and after seeing Adolphe Adam’s Giselle he became a ballet devotee.
Based upon E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tale of a young girl’s magical Christmas Eve, as a whole The Nutcracker was poorly received at first. But Tchaikovsky’s spellbinding score proved simply too good to lose and The Nutcracker has become an essential part of festive celebrations the world over. Adored for pieces like The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and The Waltz of the Flowers, it contains some of Tchaikovsky’s most popular work and is perhaps the most famous ballet music ever written.
Closing the album is Tchaikovsky’s powerfully emotional Fourth Symphony. As the composer wrote, it is ‘patterned after Beethoven’s Fifth’ and is well known for its theme of ‘fate’, announced by the ominous recurring fanfare that holds the unique symphonic form together.
Tempering the sweetness of The Nutcracker, this coupling displays two very different sides of Tchaikovsky’s music, illustrating him as a complex man who battled to balance inner turmoils as well as utmost joys. Perhaps summed up by the final line of his famous programme note: ‘Reproach yourself and do not say that all the world is sad. Simple but strong joys do exist. Rejoice in other’s rejoicing. To live is still bearable.’