Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Symphony No. 4 - Gergiev
Mariinsky MAR0593 (2 discs)
Classical - Orchestral
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Symphony No. 4
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 only his second recording of Tchaikovsky’s ballet masterpiece. A perfectly judged realisation of one of classical music’s most cherished works.
Gergiev is an expert in Tchaikovsky’s music and his interpretations of The Nutcracker are among the most celebrated: ‘Gergiev takes us back to that first light of inspiration, and his orchestra plays as if guided by the composer’s own hand.’
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.