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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." The New York Times
Based upon E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tale of a young girl’s magical Christmas Eve, '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. 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 joy. Perhaps summed up by the final line of Tchaikovsky’s 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."
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"... A stocking-filler to suit most ardent Tchaikovskians this Christmas."
Mark Pullinger - Gramophone magazine - December 2016
Performance (The Nutcracker) ***** (Symphony No 4) *** Recording ****
"... Gergiev paints Tchaikovsky's dream-world in the boldest colours ... The Mariinsky Orchestra plays the score with theatrical verve and virtuosity, and crystal-clear recording really brings out all the subtle inner details of Tchaikovsky's orchestration..."
Erik Levi - BBC Music magazine - Christmas 2016
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Chandos Records is one of the world's premier classical music record companies, best known for its ground breaking search for neglected musical gems. The company has pioneered the idea of the 'series' and proudly includes series of such composers as Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Parry, Walton, Grainger, Berkeley and Bridge. Renowned for its superb sound quality, Chandos has won many prestigious awards for its natural sound.