Valery Gergiev: Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker (FLAC)
Valery Gergiev: Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker (FLAC)

Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky
Orchestra: St. Petersburg Kirov Chorus and Orchestra
Conductor: Valery Gergiev
Audio CD
SPARS Code: DDD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Philips
Size: 403 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

# Nutcracker, ballet, Op. 71
Composed by Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky
Performed by St.Petersburg Kirov Orchestra
Conducted by Valery Gergiev

Although Gergiev is highly experienced in the theater, and he is leading an opera-ballet orchestra, this is definitely a concert Nutcracker. Tempos are brisk, textures streamlined, and dancers might have a good deal of difficulty keeping up with the music. For us home listeners, though, this is a superb way to hear Tchaikovsky’s complete score and to remind ourselves of how much good music isn’t included in the familiar suite. Gergiev justifies his reputation as an interpreter and as an orchestra leader, getting amazingly precise playing from the ensemble. Best of all, Philips has somehow crammed more than 81 minutes of superb sound onto this disc, making it a remarkable bargain. Very highly recommended! –Leslie Gerber

01. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Overture
02. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 1 – No. 1 The Christmas Tree
03. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 1 – No. 2 March
04. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 1 – No. 3 Galop and Dance of the Parents
05. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 1 – No. 4 Dance Scene – The Presents of Drosselmeyer
06. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 1 – No. 5 Scene – Grandfather Dance
07. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 1 – No. 6 Clara and the Nutcracker
08. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 1 – No. 7 The Nutcracker Battles the Army of the Mouse King – He Wins and Is Transformed into Prince Charming
09. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 1 – No. 8 In the Christmas Tree
10. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 1 – No. 9 Scene and Waltz of the Snowflakes
11. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 2 – No. 10 The Magic Castle on the Mountain of Sweets
12. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 2 – No. 11 Clara and Prince Charming
13. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 2 – No. 12a Character Dances: Chocolate (Spanish Dance)
14. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 2 – No. 12b Character Dances: Coffee (Arabian Dance)
15. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 2 – No. 12c Character Dances: Tea (Chinese Dance)
16. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 2 – No. 12d Character Dances: Trépak (Russian Dance)
17. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 2 – No. 12e Character Dances: Dance of the Reed Pipes
18. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 2 – No. 12f Character Dances: Polchinelle (The Clown)
19. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 2 – No. 13 Waltz of the Flowers
20. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 2 – No. 14a Pas de deux: Intrada
21. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 2 – No. 14b Pas de deux: Variation I (Tarantella)
22. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 2 – No. 14c Pas de deux: Variation II (Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy)
23. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 2 – No. 14d Pas de deux: Coda
24. The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 2 – No. 15 Final Waltz and Apotheosis

Don’t Hesitate in Buying This CD

I have heard rival recordings (Previn, Ashkenzy, Dorati, Ormandy) and they have their good points. I have seen the ballet. I thought I knew this score backwards and forwards, then I heard Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra on this recording and realized that I had been missing a lot. This recording is almost perfect. Many other reviewers have complained about how fast the tempos seem and how they couldn’t be danced to it but they are wrong about this. I bought the complete score (Dover just recently issued it) and Gergiev’s tempos are pretty much on the mark and match what the score indicates they should be (for example, The score indicates that No 3 (the “Galop of the Children” – it’s right after the march) should be played at 168 beats per minute. That’s fast but that’s the way Tchaikovsky wanted it and Gergiev follows the composer’s tempo markings throughout. He is even a little slower than indicated on a couple of numbers. Tchaikovsky’s orchestrations are masterful and the Philips engineers have managed to make the listener hear most every little detail in this score. For me this was most noticed in the Snowflake Waltz and Mother Ginger sections. One of the pitfalls of such a detailed recording is that it tends to blow small flaws up. The trumpets in this recording seem to be a bit harsh and, unfortunately come across as the weakest part of this fine orchestra. Fianlly, this is a recording that is meant to be listened to, not danced to. I know that sounds silly but all these people saying that it can’t be danced to need to realize that this interpretation is not meant to be danced, it is meant to be heard as a continuous, symphonic piece (and the one disc helps this tremendously). Gergiev and his forces convey all the charm, subtlety, drama and playfulness of this score masterfully. If you want to hear a wonderful interpretation of “The Nutcracker” then this is the CD for you.

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