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Exploring the often surprising links between concepts, themes and people in classical music, from medieval to modern


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Saturday, December 20, 2014 Permalink

The Nutcracker Connection

From the Houston Ballet production of The Nutcracker


It may be the most popular ballet score ever written, but it almost didn’t happen. 

“If ever Tchaikovsky wrote an ill-starred work,” writes biographer Roland John Wiley, “it was The Nutcracker.  Had he known what miseries he would endure while writing it, he surely would have refused.”

But he didn’t— and from adversity created a beloved masterpiece.

In this hour, the story behind this perennial holiday classic.


CD Title Group/Artist Catalog # UPC
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Berlin Philharmonic, Semyon Bychkov Philips 420 237-2 028942023727
Tchaikovsky: Iolanta Gergiev - Gorchakova Philips 442 796-2 028944279627
Tchaikovsky:  Complete Suites New Philharmonia Orchestra, Antal Dorati. Philips 454 253-2 028945425320
Anidan Haemde [for “Iavnana”] Kahaberi & Khanums [Kakhaber Tsiskaridze] iTunes download
Ippolitov-Ivanov [for Caucasian Sketches] National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Arthur Fagen Naxos 8.553405 730099440523
Schumann: Papillons  Marc-Andre Hamelin Hyperion CDA67120 034571171203
Chansons et comptines de notre enfance  [for “Bon Voyage, Monsieur Dumollet”] Jean Francois Alexandre & Mathieu Lenestour Naive iTunes download 
Chansons Populaires de France [for “Girofle, Girofla”] Yves Montand Smithsonian Folkways Recordings Amazon downloadASIN: B00D8RN4ZK
24 Best-Loved French Folk Songs [for “Cadet Rousselle”] André Claveau and Mathé Altéry Smithsonian Folkways Recordings Amazon downloadASIN: B000S9BYE4



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