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The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker

Overview
The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet
Ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa
Marius Petipa
Victor Marius Alphonse Petipa was a French ballet dancer, teacher and choreographer. Petipa is considered to be the most influential ballet master and choreographer of ballet that has ever lived....

 and Lev Ivanov
Lev Ivanov
Lev Ivanovich Ivanov was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer and later, Second Balletmaster of the Imperial Ballet....

 with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

. The libretto
Libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is a story written in 1816 by E. T. A. Hoffmann in which young Marie Stahlbaum's favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls...

". It was given its première at the Mariinsky Theatre
Mariinsky Theatre
The Mariinsky Theatre is a historic theatre of opera and ballet in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Opened in 1860, it became the preeminent music theatre of late 19th century Russia, where many of the stage masterpieces of Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov received their premieres. The...

 in St. Petersburg on Friday, December 18th, 1892, on a double-bill with Tchaikovsky's opera, Iolanta
Iolanta
Iolanta, Op. 69, is a lyric opera in one act by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The libretto was written by the composer's brother Modest Tchaikovsky, and is based on the Danish play Kong Renés Datter by Henrik Hertz. The play was translated by Fyodor Miller and adapted by Vladimir Zotov...

.

Although the original production was not a success, the twenty-minute suite that Tchaikovsky extracted from the ballet was.
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Encyclopedia
The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet
Ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa
Marius Petipa
Victor Marius Alphonse Petipa was a French ballet dancer, teacher and choreographer. Petipa is considered to be the most influential ballet master and choreographer of ballet that has ever lived....

 and Lev Ivanov
Lev Ivanov
Lev Ivanovich Ivanov was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer and later, Second Balletmaster of the Imperial Ballet....

 with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

. The libretto
Libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is a story written in 1816 by E. T. A. Hoffmann in which young Marie Stahlbaum's favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls...

". It was given its première at the Mariinsky Theatre
Mariinsky Theatre
The Mariinsky Theatre is a historic theatre of opera and ballet in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Opened in 1860, it became the preeminent music theatre of late 19th century Russia, where many of the stage masterpieces of Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov received their premieres. The...

 in St. Petersburg on Friday, December 18th, 1892, on a double-bill with Tchaikovsky's opera, Iolanta
Iolanta
Iolanta, Op. 69, is a lyric opera in one act by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The libretto was written by the composer's brother Modest Tchaikovsky, and is based on the Danish play Kong Renés Datter by Henrik Hertz. The play was translated by Fyodor Miller and adapted by Vladimir Zotov...

.

Although the original production was not a success, the twenty-minute suite that Tchaikovsky extracted from the ballet was. However, the complete Nutcracker has enjoyed enormous popularity since the mid-20th century and is now performed by countless ballet companies, primarily during the Christmas season, especially in the U.S. Tchaikovsky's score has become one of his most famous compositions, in particular the pieces featured in the suite. Among other things, the score is noted for its use of the celesta
Celesta
The celesta or celeste is a struck idiophone operated by a keyboard. Its appearance is similar to that of an upright piano or of a large wooden music box . The keys are connected to hammers which strike a graduated set of metal plates suspended over wooden resonators...

, an instrument that the composer had already employed in his much lesser known symphonic ballad
Symphonic poem
A symphonic poem or tone poem is a piece of orchestral music in a single continuous section in which the content of a poem, a story or novel, a painting, a landscape or another source is illustrated or evoked. The term was first applied by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt to his 13 works in this vein...

 The Voyevoda
The Voyevoda (symphonic ballad)
The Voyevoda, Op. 78, is a "symphonic ballad" for orchestra, written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1891. It is based on Alexander Pushkin's translation of Adam Mickiewicz's poem of that name....

. Although known primarily as the featured solo instrument in the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from Act II of The Nutcracker, it is also employed elsewhere in the same act.

History



Composition


After the success of The Sleeping Beauty in 1890, Ivan Vsevolozhsky
Ivan Vsevolozhsky
Ivan Alexandrovich Vsevolozhsky was the Director of the Imperial Theatres in Russia from 1881 to 1898.A competent administrator, Vsevolozhsky ran the Imperial Theatres with a determination for excellence...

, the director of the Imperial Theatres, commissioned Tchaikovsky to compose a double-bill program featuring both an opera and a ballet. The opera would be Iolanta
Iolanta
Iolanta, Op. 69, is a lyric opera in one act by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The libretto was written by the composer's brother Modest Tchaikovsky, and is based on the Danish play Kong Renés Datter by Henrik Hertz. The play was translated by Fyodor Miller and adapted by Vladimir Zotov...

. For the ballet, Tchaikovsky would again join forces with Marius Petipa, with whom he had collaborated on The Sleeping Beauty. The material Petipa chose was an adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffmann's story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by Alexandre Dumas père called The Tale of the Nutcracker. The plot of Hoffmann's story (and Dumas' adaptation) was greatly simplified for the two-act ballet. Hoffmann's tale contains a long flashback
Flashback (narrative)
Flashback is an interjected scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point the story has reached. Flashbacks are often used to recount events that happened before the story’s primary sequence of events or to fill in crucial backstory...

 story within its main plot entitled The Tale of the Hard Nut, which explains how the Prince was turned into the Nutcracker. This had to be excised for the ballet.

Petipa gave Tchaikovsky extremely detailed instructions for the composition of each number, down to the tempo and number of bars. The composer did not appreciate having to work under such constraints and found himself reluctant to work on the ballet. The completion of the work was interrupted for a short time when Tchaikovsky visited the United States for twenty five days to conduct concerts for the opening of Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

 and composed part of it in France.

St. Petersburg première


The first performance of the ballet was held as a double première together with Tchaikovsky's last opera, Iolanta
Iolanta
Iolanta, Op. 69, is a lyric opera in one act by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The libretto was written by the composer's brother Modest Tchaikovsky, and is based on the Danish play Kong Renés Datter by Henrik Hertz. The play was translated by Fyodor Miller and adapted by Vladimir Zotov...

, on , at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

. Although the libretto was by Marius Petipa
Marius Petipa
Victor Marius Alphonse Petipa was a French ballet dancer, teacher and choreographer. Petipa is considered to be the most influential ballet master and choreographer of ballet that has ever lived....

, who exactly choreographed the first production has been debated. Petipa began work on the choreography in August 1892; however, illness removed him from its completion and his assistant of seven years, Lev Ivanov
Lev Ivanov
Lev Ivanovich Ivanov was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer and later, Second Balletmaster of the Imperial Ballet....

, was brought in. Although Ivanov is often credited as the choreographer, some contemporary accounts credit Petipa. The performance was conducted by Riccardo Drigo
Riccardo Drigo
Riccardo Eugenio Drigo , a.k.a. Richard Drigo was an Italian composer of ballet music and Italian Opera, a theatrical conductor, and a pianist....

, with Antoinetta Dell-Era as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Pavel Gerdt
Pavel Gerdt
Pavel Andreyevich Gerdt, also known as Paul Gerdt , was the Premier Danseur Noble of the Imperial Ballet, the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre, and the Mariinsky Theatre for 56 years, making his debut in 1860, and retiring in 1916...

 as Prince Coqueluche, Stanislava Belinskaya as Clara, Sergei Legat as the Nutcracker-Prince, and Timofei Stukolkin as Drosselmeyer. The children's roles, unlike many later productions, were performed by real children rather than adults (with Belinskaya as Clara, and Vassily Stukolkin as Fritz), students of Imperial Ballet School of St. Petersburg
Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet
The Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet is a school of classical ballet in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The school was previously known as the Imperial Ballet School, becoming the Leningrad State Choreographic Institute during the Soviet era...

.

The first performance of The Nutcracker was not deemed a success. The reaction to the dancers themselves was ambivalent. While some critics praised Dell-Era her pointe
En pointe
En pointe means "on the tip" and is a part of classical ballet technique, usually practised using specially reinforced shoes called pointe shoes or toe shoes. The technique developed from the desire for dancers to appear weightless and sylph-like and has evolved to enable dancers to dance on the...

 work as the Sugar Plum Fairy (she allegedly received five curtain-calls), one critic called her "corpulent" and "pudgy." Olga Preobajenskaya as the Columbine doll was panned by one critic as "completely insipid" and praised as "charming" by another. One audience member described the choreography of the battle scene as confusing: "One cannot understand anything. Disorderly pushing about from corner to corner and running backwards and forwards – quite amateurish."

The libretto was criticized for being "lopsided" and for not being faithful to the Hoffmann tale. Much of the criticism focused on the featuring of children so prominently in the ballet, and many bemoaned the fact that the ballerina did not dance until the Grand Pas de Deux near the end of the second act (which did not occur until nearly midnight during the program). Some found the transition between the mundane world of the first scene and the fantasy world of the second act too abrupt. Reception was better for Tchaikovsky's score. Critics called it "astonishingly rich in inspiration" and "from beginning to end, beautiful, melodious, original, and characteristic." But even this was not unanimous as some critics found the party scene "ponderous" and the Grand Pas de Deux "insipid."

Subsequent productions



In 1919, choreographer Alexander Gorsky staged a production which eliminated the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier and gave their dances to Clara and the Nutcracker Prince, who were played by adults instead of children. His was the first production to do so. An abridged version of the ballet was first performed outside Russia in Budapest (Royal Opera House) in 1927, with choreography by Ede Brada. In 1934, choreographer Vasili Vainonen
Vasili Vainonen
Vasili Vainonen was a renowned Soviet choreographer, mainly for the Kirov Ballet, now known as the Mariinsky Ballet, with which he worked from 1930 to 1938...

 staged a version of the work that addressed many of the criticisms of the original 1892 production by casting adult dancers in the roles of Clara and the Prince, as Gorsky had. The Vainonen version influenced several later productions.

The first complete performance outside Russia took place in England in 1934, staged by Nicholas Sergeyev after Petipa's original choreography. Annual performances of the ballet have been staged there since 1952. Another abridged version of the ballet, performed by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo
Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo
Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo was a ballet company created by members of the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo in 1938 after Léonide Massine and René Blum had a falling-out with the co-founder Wassily de Basil...

, was staged in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 in 1940 by Alexandra Fedorova (not to be confused with the university teacher with the same name) – again, after Petipa's version. The ballet's first complete United States performance was on 24 December 1944, by the San Francisco Ballet
San Francisco Ballet
The San Francisco Ballet is a ballet company, founded in 1933 as the San Francisco Opera Ballet. The company is currently based in the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, under the direction of Helgi Tomasson. SFB is the first professional ballet company in the United States...

, staged by its artistic director Willam Christensen
Willam Christensen
Willam Farr Christensen was an American ballet dancer, choreographer and founder of the San Francisco Ballet and Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is known for bringing the complete version of the Russian ballet The Nutcracker to the United States, as well as staging the first American...

. The New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet is a ballet company founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. Leon Barzin was the company's first music director. Balanchine and Jerome Robbins are considered the founding choreographers of the company...

 gave its first annual performance of George Balanchine's staging of The Nutcracker in 1954. Beginning in the 1960's, the tradition of performing the complete ballet at Christmas eventually spread to the rest of the United States.

Since Gorsky, Vainonen and Balanchine's productions, many other choreographers have made their own versions. Some institute the changes made by Gorsky and Vainonen while others, like Balanchine, utilize the original libretto. Some notable productions include those by Rudolf Nureyev for the Royal Ballet, Yuri Grigorovich for the Bolshoi Ballet
Bolshoi Ballet
The Bolshoi Ballet is an internationally renowned classical ballet company, based at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia. Founded in 1776, the Bolshoi is among the world's oldest ballet companies, however it only achieved worldwide acclaim by the early 20th century, when Moscow became the...

, Mikhail Baryshnikov for the American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre , based in New York City, was one of the foremost ballet companies of the 20th century. It continues as a leading dance company in the world today...

, and Peter Wright for the Royal Ballet and the Birmingham Royal Ballet
Birmingham Royal Ballet
Birmingham Royal Ballet is one of the three major ballet companies of the United Kingdom, alongside the Royal Ballet and the English National Ballet....

. In recent years, revisionist productions, including those by Mark Morris, Matthew Bourne, and Mikhail Chemiakin have appeared; these depart radically from both the original 1892 libretto and Vainonen's revival, while Maurice Bejart
Maurice Béjart
Maurice Béjart was a French born, Swiss choreographer who ran the Béjart Ballet Lausanne in Switzerland. He was the son of the French philosopher Gaston Berger.- Biography :...

's version completely discards the original plot and characters. In addition to annual live stagings of the work, many productions have also been televised and / or released on home video.

Roles


The following extrapolation of the characters (in order of appearance) is drawn from an examination of the stage directions in the score (Soviet ed., where they are printed in the original French with added Russian translation in editorial footnotes):

Act I
  • President
  • His wife
  • Invitees
  • Children, including
    • Clara (sometimes known as Marie) and Fritz [children of the President]
  • Parents dressed as "incroyables"
  • Councilor Drosselmeyer
  • Dolls [spring-activated]:
    • Harlequin and Columbine, appearing out of a cabbage [1st gift]
    • Soldier, appearing out of a pie or tart [2nd gift]
  • Nutcracker [3rd gift, at first a normal-sized toy, then full-sized and "speaking", then a Prince]
  • Owl [on clock, changing into Drosselmeyer]
  • Mice
  • Sentinel [speaking rôle]
  • Hare-Drummers
  • Soldiers [of the Nutcracker]
  • Mouse King
  • Snowflakes
  • Angels


Some versions also give a nephew to Drosselmeyer who resembles the nutcracker prince.

ACT II
  • Angels
  • Sugar Plum Fairy
  • Clara
  • Prince
  • 12 Pages
  • Eminent members of the court
  • Spanish Hot Chocolate Performers
  • Arabian Coffee Performers
  • Chinese Tea Performers
  • Russian Candy Cane Performers
  • Danish Marzipan Shepherdess Performers
  • Mother Gigogne
  • Buffoons (= Fr. polichinelles)
  • Dewdrop
  • Flowers
  • Sugar Plum Fairy
  • Her Cavalier

Synopsis


Below is a synopsis based on the original 1892 libretto by Marius Petipa. The story varies from production to production, though most follow the basic outline. The names of the characters also vary. In the original E.T.A. Hoffmann story, the young heroine is called Marie Stahlbaum and Clara (Klärchen) is the name of her doll
Doll
A doll is a model of a human being, often used as a toy for children. Dolls have traditionally been used in magic and religious rituals throughout the world, and traditional dolls made of materials like clay and wood are found in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe. The earliest documented dolls...

. In the adaptation by Dumas on which Petipa based his libretto, her name is Marie Silberhaus.

Act I


Scene 1: The Silberhaus Home

It is Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve refers to the evening or entire day preceding Christmas Day, a widely celebrated festival commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth that takes place on December 25...

 at the house of Herr
German name
German names consist of one or several Vornamen and a Nachname . The Vorname is usually gender-specific.-Forenames:...

 and Frau
German name
German names consist of one or several Vornamen and a Nachname . The Vorname is usually gender-specific.-Forenames:...

 Silberhaus and their children. Family and friends have gathered in the parlor to decorate the beautiful Christmas tree
Christmas tree
The Christmas tree is a decorated evergreen coniferous tree, real or artificial, and a tradition associated with the celebration of Christmas. The tradition of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas started in Livonia and Germany in the 16th century...

 in preparation for the night's festivities. Once the tree is finished, the younger children are sent for; among them are Clara, the Silberhaus' daughter, and her brother Fritz. The children stand in awe of the tree sparkling with candles and decorations.

The festivities begin. A march is played on the piano. Presents are given out to the children. Suddenly, as the owl-topped clock strikes eight, a mysterious figure enters the room. It is Herr Drosselmeyer, a local councilman and Clara and Fritz's godfather
Godparent
A godparent, in many denominations of Christianity, is someone who sponsors a child's baptism. A male godparent is a godfather, and a female godparent is a godmother...

. He is also a talented toymaker who has brought with him gifts for the children, including four lifelike dolls—a Harlequin
Harlequin
Harlequin or Arlecchino in Italian, Arlequin in French, and Arlequín in Spanish is the most popularly known of the zanni or comic servant characters from the Italian Commedia dell'arte and its descendant, the Harlequinade.-Origins:...

 and Columbine
Columbina
Columbine is a fictional character in the Commedia dell'Arte. She is Harlequin's mistress, a comic servant playing the tricky slave type, and wife of Pierrot...

, and a Vivandière
Vivandière
Vivandière may refer to:*Vivandière a generic name for women attached to military regiments*La Vivandière, a ballet choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon.*La Vivandière , an 1867 musical play by W. S. Gilbert...

 and Soldier—who dance to the delight of all. Herr Silberhaus has the precious dolls put away for safekeeping.

Clara and Fritz are sad to see the dolls taken away, but Herr Drosselmeyer has yet another toy for them: a wooden nutcracker
Nutcracker
A nutcracker is a mechanical device for cracking nuts. Usually they work on the principle of moments as described in Archimedes' analysis of the lever...

 carved in the shape of a little man, used for cracking hazelnut
Hazelnut
A hazelnut is the nut of the hazel and is also known as a cob nut or filbert nut according to species. A cob is roughly spherical to oval, about 15–25 mm long and 10–15 mm in diameter, with an outer fibrous husk surrounding a smooth shell. A filbert is more elongated, being about twice...

s. The other children ignore it, but Clara immediately takes a liking to it. Fritz, however, purposely breaks the toy. Clara is heartbroken.

Clara takes the wounded toy to her doll's bed, lulling it to sleep. The boys interrupt with their toy trumpets and horns. Herr and Frau Silberhaus announce it is time to finish off the evening with a traditional Grandfather dance
Grossvater Tanz
The Grossvater Tanz is a German dance tune from the 17th century. It is generally considered a traditional folk tune...

. After the dance, the guests depart, and the children are sent off to bed.

During the night, after everyone else has gone to bed, Clara returns to the parlor to check on her beloved nutcracker. As she reaches the little bed, the clock strikes midnight and she looks up to see her Godfather Drosselmeyer perched atop the clock in place of the owl. Suddenly, mice begin to fill the room and the Christmas tree begins to grow to dizzying heights. The Nutcracker also grows to life-size. Clara finds herself in the midst of a battle between an army of gingerbread
Gingerbread man
A gingerbread man is a biscuit or cookie made of gingerbread, usually in the shape of a stylized human, commonly male as the name suggests, although making other shapes, especially seasonal themes and characters, is quite common as well.-History:...

 soldiers and the mice, led by the Mouse King. The mice begin to eat the gingerbread soldiers.

The Nutcracker appears to lead the gingerbread soldiers, who are joined by tin soldier
Tin soldier
Tin soldiers are miniature figures of toy soldiers that are extremely popular in the world of collecting. They can be bought finished or in a raw state to be hand-painted. They are generally made of pewter, tin, lead, other metals or plastic...

s and dolls (who serve as doctors to carry away the wounded). As the Mouse King advances on the still-wounded Nutcracker, Clara throws her slipper
Slipper
A slipper or houseshoe is a semi-closed type of indoor/outdoor shoe, consisting of a sole held to the wearer's foot by a strap running over the toes or instep. Slippers are soft and lightweight compared to other types of footwear. They are mostly made of soft or comforting materials that allow a...

 at him, distracting him long enough for the Nutcracker to stab him.
Scene 2: A Pine Forest

The mice retreat and the Nutcracker is transformed into a handsome Prince. He leads Clara through the moonlit night to a pine forest in which the snowflake
Snowflake
Snowflakes are conglomerations of frozen ice crystals which fall through the Earth's atmosphere. They begin as snow crystals which develop when microscopic supercooled cloud droplets freeze. Snowflakes come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Complex shapes emerge as the flake moves through...

s dance around them (the Waltz of the Snowflakes is the best known snow dance of many inspired by the Grand ballet of the snowflakes from Offenbach's
Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach was a Prussian-born French composer, cellist and impresario. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr....

 Le voyage dans la lune
Le voyage dans la lune (operetta)
Le voyage dans la Lune is a opéra-féerie in four acts and 23 scenes by Jacques Offenbach. Loosely based on the novel From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne, its French libretto was by Albert Vanloo, Eugène Leterrier and Arnold Mortier.It premiered on 26 October 1875 at the Théâtre de la Gaîté...

, scene 15.)

Act II


Scene 1: The Land of Sweets (Confiturembourg)

Clara and the Prince travel in a nutshell boat pulled by dolphins to the beautiful Land of Sweets in Confiturembourg, ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Prince's place until his return. The Prince recounts for the Sugar Plum Fairy how he had been saved by Clara from the Mouse King and had been transformed back into a Prince.

In honor of the young heroine, a celebration of sweets from around the world is produced: chocolate from Spain, coffee from Arabia, and tea from China all dance for their amusement; candy cane
Candy cane
A candy cane is a hard cane-shaped candy stick. It is traditionally white with red stripes and flavored with peppermint or cinnamon; however, it is also made in a variety of other flavors and may be decorated with stripes of different colors and thicknesses...

s from Russia perform a Trepak; Danish marzipan
Marzipan
Marzipan is a confection consisting primarily of sugar and almond meal. Persipan is a similar, yet less expensive product, in which the almonds are replaced by apricot or peach kernels...

 shepherdesses perform on their flutes; Mother Gigogne has her Polichinelle
Pulcinella
Pulcinella, ; often called Punch or Punchinello in English, Polichinelle in French, is a classical character that originated in the commedia dell'arte of the 17th century and became a stock character in Neapolitan puppetry....

 children emerge from under her enormous skirt to dance; a string of beautiful flowers perform a waltz
Waltz
The waltz is a ballroom and folk dance in time, performed primarily in closed position.- History :There are several references to a sliding or gliding dance,- a waltz, from the 16th century including the representations of the printer H.S. Beheim...

. To conclude the night, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform a Pas de Deux
Pas de deux
In ballet, a pas de deux is a duet in which ballet dancers perform the dance together. It usually consists of an entrée, adagio, two variations , and a coda.-Notable Pas de deux:...

.

A final waltz is performed by all the sweets, after which Clara and the Prince are crowned rulers of Confiturembourg forever and are shown the riches of their kingdom domed with an enormous beehive
Beehive
A beehive is a structure in which bees live and raise their young.Beehive may also refer to:Buildings and locations:* Bee Hive, Alabama, a neighborhood in Alabama* Beehive , a wing of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings...

. There is no indication in the original ballet plot, however, that the two ever fall in love or marry.

From the Imperial Ballet's 1892 programme


Titles of all of the numbers listed here come from Marius Petipa's original scenario, as well as the original libretto and programs of the first production of 1892. All libretti and programs of works performed on the stages of the Imperial Theatres were titled in French, which was the official language of the Imperial Court, as well as the language from which balletic terminology is derived.

Act I
  • №01 Petite ouverture
  • №02 Scène: Une fête de Noël
  • №03 Marche et petit galop des enfants
  • №04 Danse des incroyables et merveilleuses
  • №05 Entrée de Drosselmeyer
  • №06 Danses des poupées mécaniques—
a. Arlequin et Columbine; Pas de deux
b. La Recruit et la vivandière
  • №07 Le Casse-Noisette (Polka et la berceuse)
  • №08 Danse "Grossvater"
  • №09 Grand scène fantastique
  • №10 La bataille de Casse-Noisette et du Roi des souris
  • №11 Le voyage
  • №12 Valse des flocons de neige

Act II
  • №13 Introduction; Scène de Confiturembürg
  • Grand divertissement—
№14 "Chocolat" (Danse espagnole)
№15 "Café" (Danse arabe)
№16 "Thé" (Danse chinois)
№17 Danse des Bouffons
№18 Danse des mirlitons
№19 La mère Gigogne et les polichinelles
№20 Grand ballabile
  • №21 Pas de deux—
a. Grand adage
b. Variation de Prince Coqueluche (M. Pavel Gerdt)
c. Variation de la Fée-Dragée (Mlle. Antoinetta Dell-Era)
d. Grand coda
  • №22 Coda générale
  • №23 Apothéose: Une ruche


Soviet collected edition


Numbers given according to the piano score from the Soviet collected edition of the composer's works, as reprinted Melville, New York: Belwin Mills [n.d.], in English where possible, with explanations added here in square brackets. Tempo markings
Tempo
In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. Tempo is a crucial element of any musical composition, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece.-Measuring tempo:...

 are noted below each number.

Act One
Miniature Overture
Allegro giusto
Tableau I
No.1 Scene of decorating and lighting the Christmas tree
Allegro non troppoPiù moderatoAllegro vivace
No.2 March
Tempo di marcia viva
No.3 Little Gallop [of the children] and entry of the parents
PrestoAndanteAllegro
No.4 Scene dansante [Drosselmeyer's arrival and distribution of presents]
AndantinoAllegro vivoAndantino sostenutoPiù andanteAllegro molto vivaceTempo di ValsePresto
No.5 Scene and Grandfather Dance
AndanteAndantinoModerato assaiAndanteL'istesso tempoTempo di Gross-VaterAllegro vivacissimo
No.6 Scene [Departure of the guests]
Allegro sempliceModerato con motoAllegro giustoPiù allegroModerato assai
No.7 Scene [the battle]
Allegro vivo

Tableau II
No.8 Scene [usually entitled either Journey Through the Snow or A Pine Forest in Winter]
Andante
No.9 Waltz of the Snowflakes
Tempo di Valse, ma con motoPresto


Act Two
Tableau III
No.10 Scene [Introduction]
Andante
No.11 Scene [Arrival of Clara and the Prince]
Andante con motoModeratoAllegro agitatoPoco più allegroTempo precedente
No.12 Divertissement
a. Chocolate (Spanish dance)
Allegro brillante
b. Coffee (Arabian dance)
Commodo
c. Tea (Chinese dance)
Allegro moderato
d. Trepak (Russian Dance)
Tempo di trepak, molto vivace
e. Dance of the "Mirlitons" [also known as "Dance of the Reed-Flutes"]
Andantino
f. Mother Gigogne and the clowns [also known as "Mother Ginger and her children" or "polichinelles"]
Allegro giucosoAndanteAllegro vivo
No.13 Waltz of the Flowers
Tempo di Valse
No.14 Pas de Deux:
a. Adagio (Sugar-Plum Fairy and her Cavalier)
Andante maestoso
b. Variation I (for the male dancer) Tarantella
Tarantella
The term tarantella groups a number of different southern Italian couple folk dances characterized by a fast upbeat tempo, usually in 6/8 time , accompanied by tambourines. It is among the most recognized of traditional Italian music. The specific dance name varies with every region, for instance...

Tempo di Tarantella
c. Variation II (for the female dancer) [Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy]
Andante ma non troppoPresto
d. Coda
Vivace assai
No.15 Final Waltz and Apotheosis
Tempo di ValseMolto meno

Instrumentation


Woodwinds
3 flute
Western concert flute
The Western concert flute is a transverse woodwind instrument made of metal or wood. It is the most common variant of the flute. A musician who plays the flute is called a flautist, flutist, or flute player....

s (2nd & 3rd doubling on piccolo
Piccolo
The piccolo is a half-size flute, and a member of the woodwind family of musical instruments. The piccolo has the same fingerings as its larger sibling, the standard transverse flute, but the sound it produces is an octave higher than written...

), 2 oboe
Oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

s, an English horn, 2 clarinet
Clarinet
The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

s in B-flat and A, a bass clarinet
Bass clarinet
The bass clarinet is a musical instrument of the clarinet family. Like the more common soprano B clarinet, it is usually pitched in B , but it plays notes an octave below the soprano B clarinet...

 in B-flat and A, and 2 bassoon
Bassoon
The bassoon is a woodwind instrument in the double reed family that typically plays music written in the bass and tenor registers, and occasionally higher. Appearing in its modern form in the 19th century, the bassoon figures prominently in orchestral, concert band and chamber music literature...

s


Brass
4 horn
Horn (instrument)
The horn is a brass instrument consisting of about of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. A musician who plays the horn is called a horn player ....

s in F, 2 trumpet
Trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

s in A and B-flat, 3 trombone
Trombone
The trombone is a musical instrument in the brass family. Like all brass instruments, sound is produced when the player’s vibrating lips cause the air column inside the instrument to vibrate...

s (2 tenor, 1 bass), and a tuba
Tuba
The tuba is the largest and lowest-pitched brass instrument. Sound is produced by vibrating or "buzzing" the lips into a large cupped mouthpiece. It is one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra, first appearing in the mid-19th century, when it largely replaced the...



Percussion
a celesta
Celesta
The celesta or celeste is a struck idiophone operated by a keyboard. Its appearance is similar to that of an upright piano or of a large wooden music box . The keys are connected to hammers which strike a graduated set of metal plates suspended over wooden resonators...

, timpani
Timpani
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet...

, a snare drum
Snare drum
The snare drum or side drum is a melodic percussion instrument with strands of snares made of curled metal wire, metal cable, plastic cable, or gut cords stretched across the drumhead, typically the bottom. Pipe and tabor and some military snare drums often have a second set of snares on the bottom...

, cymbal
Cymbal
Cymbals are a common percussion instrument. Cymbals consist of thin, normally round plates of various alloys; see cymbal making for a discussion of their manufacture. The greater majority of cymbals are of indefinite pitch, although small disc-shaped cymbals based on ancient designs sound a...

s, a bass drum
Bass drum
Bass drums are percussion instruments that can vary in size and are used in several musical genres. Three major types of bass drums can be distinguished. The type usually seen or heard in orchestral, ensemble or concert band music is the orchestral, or concert bass drum . It is the largest drum of...

, a triangle
Triangle (instrument)
The triangle is an idiophone type of musical instrument in the percussion family. It is a bar of metal, usually steel but sometimes other metals like beryllium copper, bent into a triangle shape. The instrument is usually held by a loop of some form of thread or wire at the top curve...

, a tambourine
Tambourine
The tambourine or marine is a musical instrument of the percussion family consisting of a frame, often of wood or plastic, with pairs of small metal jingles, called "zils". Classically the term tambourine denotes an instrument with a drumhead, though some variants may not have a head at all....

, castanet
Castanet
Castanets are a percussion instrument , used in Moorish, Ottoman, ancient Roman, Italian, Spanish, Sephardic Music, and Portuguese music. The instrument consists of a pair of concave shells joined on one edge by a string. They are held in the hand and used to produce clicks for rhythmic accents or...

s, a tam-tam, a glockenspiel
Glockenspiel
A glockenspiel is a percussion instrument composed of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano. In this way, it is similar to the xylophone; however, the xylophone's bars are made of wood, while the glockenspiel's are metal plates or tubes, and making it a metallophone...

, and "toy instruments" (a rattle
Rattle (percussion)
A rattle is a percussion instrument. It consists of a hollow body filled with small uniform solid objects, like sand or nuts. Rhythmical shaking of this instrument produces repetitive, rather dry timbre noises. In some kinds of music, a rattle assumes the role of the metronome, as an alternative to...

, a trumpet, a drum, a cuckoo, a quail, cymbals, and a rifle)


Voice
SA chorus
Choir
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...



Strings
2 harp
Harp
The harp is a multi-stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicularly to the soundboard. Organologically, it is in the general category of chordophones and has its own sub category . All harps have a neck, resonator and strings...

s, first and second violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

s, viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

s, violoncellos, and double bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

es

Tchaikovsky's sources and influences



The Nutcracker is one of the composer's most popular compositions. The music belongs to the Romantic
Romantic music
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in Western music history, from 1810 to 1900....

 Period and contains some of his most memorable melodies, several of which are frequently used in television and film. (They are often heard in TV commercials shown during the Christmas season
Christmas season
Christmastide is one of the seasons of the liturgical year of most Christian churches. It tends to be defined as the period from Christmas Eve to the evening of 5 January, the day before Epiphany...

.) The
Trepak, or Russian dance, is one of the most recognizable pieces in the ballet, along with the famous Waltz of the Flowers and March, as well as the ubiquitous Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The ballet contains surprisingly advanced harmonies and a wealth of melodic invention that is (to many) unsurpassed in ballet music. Nevertheless, the composer's reverence for Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

 and late 18th century music can be detected in passages such as the Overture, the "Entrée des parents", and "Tempo di Grossvater" in Act I.

Tchaikovsky is said to have argued with a friend who wagered that the composer could not write a melody based on the notes of the scale in an octave in sequence. Tchaikovsky asked if it mattered whether the notes were in ascending or descending order, and was assured it did not. This resulted in the Adagio from the Grand pas de deux, which, in the ballet, nearly always immediately follows the Waltz of the Flowers. A story is also told that Tchaikovsky's sister had died shortly before he began composition of the ballet, and that his sister's death influenced him to compose a melancholy, descending scale melody for the adagio of the Grand Pas de Deux.

One novelty in Tchaikovsky's original score was the use of the celesta
Celesta
The celesta or celeste is a struck idiophone operated by a keyboard. Its appearance is similar to that of an upright piano or of a large wooden music box . The keys are connected to hammers which strike a graduated set of metal plates suspended over wooden resonators...

, a new instrument Tchaikovsky had discovered in Paris. He wanted it genuinely for the character of the Sugar Plum Fairy to characterize her because of its "heavenly sweet sound". It appears not only in her "Dance", but also in other passages in Act II. Tchaikovsky also uses toy instruments during the Christmas party scene. Tchaikovsky was proud of the celesta's effect, and wanted its music performed quickly for the public, before he could be "scooped." Everyone was enchanted.

Although the original ballet is only about 85 minutes long if performed without applause or an intermission, and therefore much shorter than either Swan Lake
Swan Lake
Swan Lake ballet, op. 20, by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, composed 1875–1876. The scenario, initially in four acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse. The choreographer of the original production was Julius Reisinger...

or The Sleeping Beauty, some modern staged performances have omitted or re-ordered some of the music, or inserted selections from elsewhere, thus adding to the confusion over the suites. In fact, most of the very famous versions of the ballet have had the order of the dances slightly re-arranged, if they have not actually altered the music. For instance, the 1954 George Balanchine
George Balanchine
George Balanchine , born Giorgi Balanchivadze in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a Georgian father and a Russian mother, was one of the 20th century's most famous choreographers, a developer of ballet in the United States, co-founder and balletmaster of New York City Ballet...

 New York City Ballet version adds to Tchaikovsky's score an entr'acte
Entr'acte
' is French for "between the acts" . It can mean a pause between two parts of a stage production, synonymous to an intermission, but it more often indicates a piece of music performed between acts of a theatrical production...

 that the composer wrote for Act II of The Sleeping Beauty, but which is now seldom played in productions of that ballet. It is used as a transition between the departure of the guests and the battle with the mice. Nearly all of the CD and LP
Gramophone record
A gramophone record, commonly known as a phonograph record , vinyl record , or colloquially, a record, is an analog sound storage medium consisting of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove...

 recordings of the complete ballet present Tchaikovsky's score exactly as he originally conceived it.

Tchaikovsky was less satisfied with
The Nutcracker than with The Sleeping Beauty. (In the film Fantasia
Fantasia (film)
Fantasia is a 1940 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released by Walt Disney Productions. The third feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, the film consists of eight animated segments set to pieces of classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski, seven of which are...

, commentator Deems Taylor
Deems Taylor
Joseph Deems Taylor was a U.S. composer, music critic, and promoter of classical music.-Career:Taylor initially planned to become an architect; however, despite minimal musical training he soon took to music composition. The result was a series of works for orchestra and/or voices...

 observes that he "really detested" the score.) Tchaikovsky accepted the commission from Vsevolozhsky but did not particularly want to write the ballet (though he did write to a friend while composing it: "I am daily becoming more and more attuned to my task").

Concert excerpts and arrangements

  • Tchaikovsky: Suite from the ballet The Nutcracker – Tchaikovsky made a selection of eight of the numbers from the ballet before the ballet's December 1892 première, forming The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a, intended for concert performance. The suite was first performed, under the composer's direction, on 19 March 1892 at an assembly of the St. Petersburg branch of the Musical Society. The suite became instantly popular (according to Men of Music
    Men of Music
    Men of Music: Their Lives, Times and Achievements is a volume of mini-biographies and evaluations of famous classical music composers, written by Wallace Brockway and Herbert Weinstock, and originally published by Simon and Schuster in 1939...

    "every number had to be repeated"), but the complete ballet did not begin to achieve its great popularity until after the George Balanchine
    George Balanchine
    George Balanchine , born Giorgi Balanchivadze in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a Georgian father and a Russian mother, was one of the 20th century's most famous choreographers, a developer of ballet in the United States, co-founder and balletmaster of New York City Ballet...

     staging became a hit in New York City. The suite became very popular on the concert stage, and was featured in Disney
    Walt Disney Pictures
    Walt Disney Pictures is an American film studio owned by The Walt Disney Company. Walt Disney Pictures and Television, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Studios and the main production company for live-action feature films within the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, based at the Walt Disney...

    's Fantasia
    Fantasia (film)
    Fantasia is a 1940 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released by Walt Disney Productions. The third feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, the film consists of eight animated segments set to pieces of classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski, seven of which are...

    .
    The Nutcracker Suite should not be mistaken for the complete ballet. The outline below represents the selection and sequence of the Nutcracker Suite culled by the composer.
I. Miniature Overture
II. Danses caractéristiques
a. Marche
b. Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy [ending altered from ballet-version]
c. Russian Dance (Trepak)
d. Arabian Dance
e. Chinese Dance
f. Reed-Flutes
III. Waltz of the Flowers


Tchaikovsky also made a second suite, less well known and less frequently played, of some of the other numbers:
Act I, Tableau I: Nos. 4 & 5
Act II: Adagio from the Grand Pas de Deux
Act II: Introduction, Scene Dansante, and Spanish Dance
Act II: Final Waltz and Apotheosis


Some conductors, such as Robert Irving
Robert Irving
Robert K. Irving is a Canadian industrialist based in Moncton, New Brunswick.A grandson of Kenneth Colin Irving and son of James Irving and Jean E. S. Irving, Robert is responsible for several businesses within the "Irving Group of Companies" with operations extending across North America.* He is...

 of the New York City Ballet, have made record albums of both Tchaikovsky suites from the ballet. For many years, Irving conducted the New York City Ballet's annual production of The Nutcracker, including the U.S. 1958 telecast.

  • Grainger: Paraphrase on Tchaikovsky’s Flower Waltz, for solo piano – The Paraphrase on Tchaikovsky’s Flower Waltz is a successful piano arrangement from one of the movements from The Nutcracker by the pianist and composer Percy Grainger
    Percy Grainger
    George Percy Aldridge Grainger , known as Percy Grainger, was an Australian-born composer, arranger and pianist. In the course of a long and innovative career he played a prominent role in the revival of interest in British folk music in the early years of the 20th century. He also made many...

    .
  • Pletnev: Concert suite from The Nutcracker, for solo piano – The pianist and conductor Mikhail Pletnev
    Mikhail Pletnev
    Mikhail Vasilievich Pletnev is a Russian pianist, conductor, and composer.-Life and career:Pletnev was born into a very musical family in Arkhangelsk, then part of the Soviet Union; his father played and taught the bayan, and his mother the piano...

     adapted some of the music into a virtuosic concert suite for piano solo:
a. March
b. Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy
c. Tarantella
d. Intermezzo
e. Russian Trepak
f. China Dance
g. Andante

Selected discography


Many recordings have been made since 1909 of the Nutcracker Suite, which made its initial appearance on disc that year in what is now historically considered the first record album. But it was not until the LP album
LP album
The LP, or long-playing microgroove record, is a format for phonograph records, an analog sound storage medium. Introduced by Columbia Records in 1948, it was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry...

 was developed that recordings of the complete ballet began to be made. Because of the ballet's approximate hour and a half length when performed without intermission, applause, or interpolated numbers, it fit very comfortably onto two LPs. Most CD
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

 recordings take up two discs, often with fillers. An exception is the 81-minute 1998 Valery Gergiev
Valery Gergiev
Valery Abisalovich Gergiev is a Russian conductor and opera company director. He is general director and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, and artistic director of the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg.- Early life :Gergiev,...

 recording on the Philips Classics label that fit onto one CD because of Gergiev's somewhat faster tempos.

  • 1954, the year in which the Balanchine version of the ballet was first staged, was also the year that the first complete recording – in mono sound – appeared, on Mercury Records
    Mercury Records
    Mercury Records is a record label operating as a standalone company in the UK and as part of the Island Def Jam Motown Music Group in the US; both are subsidiaries of Universal Music Group. There is also a Mercury Records in Australia, which is a local artist and repertoire division of Universal...

    . It was performed by the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Antal Doráti
    Antal Doráti
    Antal Doráti, KBE was a Hungarian-born conductor and composer who became a naturalized American citizen in 1947.-Biography:...

    . Dorati later re-recorded the complete ballet in stereo, with the London Symphony Orchestra
    London Symphony Orchestra
    The London Symphony Orchestra is a major orchestra of the United Kingdom, as well as one of the best-known orchestras in the world. Since 1982, the LSO has been based in London's Barbican Centre.-History:...

     in 1962 for Mercury and with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1975 for Philips Classics. Some have hailed the 1975 recording as the finest ever made of the complete ballet. It also is faithful to the score in employing a boys choir in the Waltz of the Snowflakes. Many other recordings use an adult or mixed choir.

  • In 1956, the conductor Artur Rodziński
    Artur Rodzinski
    Artur Rodziński was a Polish conductor of opera and symphonic music. He is especially noted for his tenures as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic in the 1930s and 1940s.-Biography:...

     and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is a British orchestra based in London. It tours widely, and is sometimes referred to as "Britain's national orchestra"...

     made a complete recording of the ballet on stereo
    STEREO
    STEREO is a solar observation mission. Two nearly identical spacecraft were launched into orbits that cause them to respectively pull farther ahead of and fall gradually behind the Earth...

     master tapes for Westminster Records
    Westminster Records
    Westminster Records was an American classical music record label, issuing original recordings from 1949 to 1965.It was founded in 1949 by Mischa Naida, the owner of the Westminster Record shop in New York City, businessman James Grayson, and conductor Henry Swoboda...

    , but because stereo was not possible on the LP format in 1956, the ballet was issued in stereo on magnetic tape
    Magnetic tape
    Magnetic tape is a medium for magnetic recording, made of a thin magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of plastic. It was developed in Germany, based on magnetic wire recording. Devices that record and play back audio and video using magnetic tape are tape recorders and video tape recorders...

    , and only a mono LP set was issued. (Recently, the Rodzinski performance was issued in stereo on CD.) Rodzinski had previously made a 78-RPM mono recording of the Nutcracker Suite for Columbia Masterworks in 1946, a recording which was reissued in 1948 as part of Columbia's first collection of classical LP's.

  • In 1959, the first stereo LP album set of the complete ballet, with Ernest Ansermet
    Ernest Ansermet
    Ernest Alexandre Ansermet was a Swiss conductor.- Biography :Ansermet was born in Vevey, Switzerland. Although he was a contemporary of Wilhelm Furtwängler and Otto Klemperer, Ansermet represents in most ways a very different tradition and approach from those two musicians. Originally he was a...

     conducting the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
    Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
    The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande is a Swiss symphony orchestra, based in Geneva at the Victoria Hall...

    , appeared on Decca Records
    Decca Records
    Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....

     in the UK and London Records
    London Records
    London Records, referred to as London Recordings in logo, is a record label headquartered in the United Kingdom, originally marketing records in the United States, Canada and Latin America from 1947 to 1979, then becoming a semi-independent label....

     in the US.

And with the advent of the stereo LP coinciding with the growing popularity of the complete ballet, many other complete recordings of it have been made over the last 35 years. Notable conductors who have done so include Maurice Abravanel
Maurice Abravanel
Maurice Abravanel was aSwiss-American Jewish conductor of classical music. He is remembered as the conductor of the Utah Symphony Orchestra for over 30 years.-Life:...

, André Previn
André Previn
André George Previn, KBE is an American pianist, conductor, and composer. He is considered one of the most versatile musicians in the world, and is the winner of four Academy Awards for his film work and ten Grammy Awards for his recordings. -Early Life:Previn was born in...

, Valery Gergiev, Mariss Jansons
Mariss Jansons
Mariss Ivars Georgs Jansons is a Latvian conductor, the son of conductor Arvīds Jansons. His mother, the singer Iraida Jansons, who was Jewish, gave birth to him in hiding in Riga, Latvia, after her father and brother were killed in the Riga Ghetto...

, Seiji Ozawa
Seiji Ozawa
is a Japanese conductor, particularly noted for his interpretations of large-scale late Romantic works. He is most known for his work as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and principal conductor of the Vienna State Opera.-Early years:...

, Richard Bonynge
Richard Bonynge
Richard Alan Bonynge, AO, CBE is an Australian conductor and pianist.Bonynge was born in Sydney and educated at Sydney Boys High School before studying piano at the Royal College of Music in London. He gave up his music scholarship, continuing his private piano studies, and became a coach for...

, Semyon Bychkov, Gennady Rozhdestvensky
Gennady Rozhdestvensky
Gennady Nikolayevich Rozhdestvensky is a Russian conductor.-Biography:Rozhdestvensky was born in Moscow. His parents were the noted conductor and pedagogue Nikolai Anosov and soprano Natalya Rozhdestvenskaya...

, and most recently, Simon Rattle
Simon Rattle
Sir Simon Denis Rattle, CBE is an English conductor. He rose to international prominence as conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and since 2002 has been principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic ....

.

  • The soundtrack of the 1977 television production with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland
    Gelsey Kirkland
    Gelsey Kirkland is an American ballerina. Kirkland joined the New York City Ballet in 1968 at age fifteen, at the invitation of George Balanchine. She was promoted to soloist in 1969 and principal in 1972...

    , featuring the National Philharmonic Orchestra
    National Philharmonic Orchestra
    The National Philharmonic Orchestra was a British orchestra created exclusively for recording purposes. It was founded by RCA producer Charles Gerhardt and orchestra leader / contractor Sidney Sax due in part to the requirements of the Reader's Digest-History:...

     conducted by Kenneth Schermerhorn
    Kenneth Schermerhorn
    Kenneth Dewitt Schermerhorn was an American composer and orchestra conductor, most notably for the Nashville Symphony.-Biography:Schermerhorn was born in Schenectady, New York, where he studied clarinet, violin, and trumpet in school. At age 14, he forged a baptismal certificate to appear older so...

    , was issued in stereo
    STEREO
    STEREO is a solar observation mission. Two nearly identical spacecraft were launched into orbits that cause them to respectively pull farther ahead of and fall gradually behind the Earth...

     on a CBS Masterworks 2 LP-set, but it has not appeared on CD. (The 78-minute soundtrack would today fit quite easily onto one CD.) The LP soundtrack recording was, for a time, the only stereo version of the Baryshnikov Nutcracker available, since the show was originally telecast only in mono, and it was not until recently that it began to be telecast with stereo sound. The sound portion of the DVD is also in stereo.

  • The first complete recording of the ballet in digital
    Digital
    A digital system is a data technology that uses discrete values. By contrast, non-digital systems use a continuous range of values to represent information...

     stereo was issued in 1985, on a two-CD RCA
    RCA
    RCA Corporation, founded as the Radio Corporation of America, was an American electronics company in existence from 1919 to 1986. The RCA trademark is currently owned by the French conglomerate Technicolor SA through RCA Trademark Management S.A., a company owned by Technicolor...

     set featuring Leonard Slatkin
    Leonard Slatkin
    Leonard Edward Slatkin is an American conductor and composer.-Early life and education:Slatkin was born in Los Angeles to a musical family that came from areas of the Russian Empire now in Ukraine. His father Felix Slatkin was the violinist, conductor and founder of the Hollywood String Quartet,...

     conducting the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. This album originally had no "filler", but it has recently been re-issued on a multi-CD set containing complete recordings of Tchaikovsky's two other ballets, Swan Lake
    Swan Lake
    Swan Lake ballet, op. 20, by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, composed 1875–1876. The scenario, initially in four acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse. The choreographer of the original production was Julius Reisinger...

    and The Sleeping Beauty.

There have been two major theatrical film versions of the ballet, made within seven years of each other, and both were given soundtrack albums.
  • The first theatrical film adaptation, made in 1986, is of the Pacific Northwest Ballet version, and was conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras
    Charles Mackerras
    Sir Alan Charles Maclaurin Mackerras, AC, CH, CBE was an Australian conductor. He was an authority on the operas of Janáček and Mozart, and the comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan...

    . The music is played in this production by the London Symphony Orchestra
    London Symphony Orchestra
    The London Symphony Orchestra is a major orchestra of the United Kingdom, as well as one of the best-known orchestras in the world. Since 1982, the LSO has been based in London's Barbican Centre.-History:...

    .
  • The second film adaptation was a 1993 color film of the New York City Ballet version, titled George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, with David Zinman
    David Zinman
    David Zinman is an American conductor and violinist.After early violin studies at the Oberlin Conservatory, Zinman studied theory and composition at the University of Minnesota and took up conducting at Tanglewood...

     conducting the New York City Ballet Orchestra. The director was Emile Ardolino
    Emile Ardolino
    Emile Ardolino was an American film director, choreographer, and producer, best known for his films Dirty Dancing and Sister Act .-Biography:...

    , who had won the Emmy, Obie, and Academy Awards for filming dance, and was to die of AIDS later that year. Principal dancers included the Balanchine muse Darci Kistler
    Darci Kistler
    Darci Kistler is a noted American ballerina. She is often said to be the last muse for legendary choreographer George Balanchine.-Biography:...

    , who danced the Sugar Plum Fairy, Heather Watts
    Heather Watts
    Heather Watts was a principal dancer with New York City Ballet. A native of California, Ms. Watts was born as Linda Heather Watts in Long Beach on September 27, 1953. She started taking up ballet at the age of 10, came to New York at the age of 13 on a Ford Foundation scholarship to attend the...

    , Damian Woetzel
    Damian Woetzel
    Damian Woetzel, former ballet star, is a producer and director of dance and music performances. Among his recent projects was directing the first performance of the White House Dance Series in September 2010, which took place in the East Room of the White House and was hosted by First Lady Michelle...

    , and Kyra Nichols. Two well-known actors also took part: Macaulay Culkin
    Macaulay Culkin
    Macaulay Carson Culkin is an American actor. He became widely known for his portrayal of Kevin McCallister in Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. He is also known for his roles in Richie Rich, Uncle Buck, My Girl, The Pagemaster, and Party Monster...

     appeared as the Nutcracker/Prince, and Kevin Kline
    Kevin Kline
    Kevin Delaney Kline is an American theatre, voice, film actor and comedian. He has won an Academy Award and two Tony Awards, and has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, two BAFTA Awards and an Emmy Award.- Early life :...

     served as offscreen narrator. The soundtrack album of this film features the interpolated number from The Sleeping Beauty that Balanchine used in the production, and the music is heard in the order that it appears in the film, not in the order that it appears in the original ballet.

Notable albums of excerpts from the ballet, rather than just the usual Nutcracker Suite, were recorded by Eugene Ormandy
Eugene Ormandy
Eugene Ormandy was a Hungarian-born conductor and violinist.-Early life:Born Jenő Blau in Budapest, Hungary, Ormandy began studying violin at the Royal National Hungarian Academy of Music at the age of five...

 conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra is a symphony orchestra based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. One of the "Big Five" American orchestras, it was founded in 1900...

 for Columbia Masterworks, and Fritz Reiner
Fritz Reiner
Frederick Martin “Fritz” Reiner was a prominent conductor of opera and symphonic music in the twentieth century.-Biography:...

 and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Chicago, Illinois. It is one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1891, the Symphony makes its home at Orchestra Hall in Chicago and plays a summer season at the Ravinia Festival...

 for RCA Victor. Arthur Fiedler
Arthur Fiedler
Arthur Fiedler was a long-time conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, a symphony orchestra that specializes in popular and light classical music. With a combination of musicianship and showmanship, he made the Boston Pops one of the best-known orchestras in the country...

 and the Boston Pops Orchestra
Boston Pops Orchestra
The Boston Pops Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts, that specializes in playing light classical and popular music....

, as well as Erich Kunzel
Erich Kunzel
Erich Kunzel, Jr. was an American orchestra conductor. Called the "Prince of Pops" by the Chicago Tribune, he performed with a number of leading pops and symphony orchestras, especially the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra , which he led for over 44 years.-Early life and career:Kunzel was born to...

 and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra is a pops orchestra based in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, founded in 1977 out of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Its members are also the members of the Cincinnati Symphony, and the Pops is managed by the same administration...

 have also recorded albums of extended excerpts. Neither Ormandy, Reiner, nor Fiedler ever recorded a complete version of the ballet; however, Kunzel's album of excerpts runs 73 minutes, containing more than two-thirds of the music.
  • Very many famous conductors of the twentieth century made recordings of the suite, but not of the complete ballet. These include such luminaries as Arturo Toscanini
    Arturo Toscanini
    Arturo Toscanini was an Italian conductor. One of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 19th and 20th century, he was renowned for his intensity, his perfectionism, his ear for orchestral detail and sonority, and his photographic memory...

    , Sir Thomas Beecham
    Thomas Beecham
    Sir Thomas Beecham, 2nd Baronet CH was an English conductor and impresario best known for his association with the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic orchestras. He was also closely associated with the Liverpool Philharmonic and Hallé orchestras...

    , Claudio Abbado
    Claudio Abbado
    Claudio Abbado, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI , is an Italian conductor. He has served as music director of the La Scala opera house in Milan, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Vienna State Opera,...

    , Leonard Bernstein
    Leonard Bernstein
    Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

    , Herbert von Karajan
    Herbert von Karajan
    Herbert von Karajan was an Austrian orchestra and opera conductor. To the wider world he was perhaps most famously associated with the Berlin Philharmonic, of which he was principal conductor for 35 years...

    , James Levine
    James Levine
    James Lawrence Levine is an American conductor and pianist. He is currently the music director of the Metropolitan Opera and former music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Levine's first performance conducting the Metropolitan Opera was on June 5, 1971, and as of May 2011 he has...

    , Sir Neville Marriner
    Neville Marriner
    Sir Neville Marriner is an English conductor and violinist.-Biography:Marriner was born in Lincoln and studied at the Royal College of Music and the Paris Conservatoire. He played the violin in the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Martin String Quartet and London Symphony Orchestra, playing with the...

    , Robert Shaw
    Robert Shaw (conductor)
    Robert Shaw was an American conductor most famous for his work with his namesake Chorale, with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Shaw received 14 Grammy awards, four ASCAP awards for service to contemporary music, the first Guggenheim Fellowship...

    , Mstislav Rostropovich
    Mstislav Rostropovich
    Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich, KBE , known to close friends as Slava, was a Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor. He was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya. He is widely considered to have been the greatest cellist of the second half of the 20th century, and one of the greatest of...

    , Sir Georg Solti
    Georg Solti
    Sir Georg Solti, KBE, was a Hungarian-British orchestral and operatic conductor. He was a major classical recording artist, holding the record for having received the most Grammy Awards, having personally won 31 as a conductor, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to his...

    , Leopold Stokowski
    Leopold Stokowski
    Leopold Anthony Stokowski was a British-born, naturalised American orchestral conductor, well known for his free-hand performing style that spurned the traditional baton and for obtaining a characteristically sumptuous sound from many of the great orchestras he conducted.In America, Stokowski...

    , Zubin Mehta
    Zubin Mehta
    Zubin Mehta is an Indian conductor of western classical music. He is the Music Director for Life of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.-Biography:...

    , and John Williams, among many others.

  • In 2007, Josh Perschbacher recorded an organ transcription of the Nutcracker Suite.

Contemporary arrangements

  • In 1960, Duke Ellington
    Duke Ellington
    Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions...

     and Billy Strayhorn
    Billy Strayhorn
    William Thomas "Billy" Strayhorn was an American composer, pianist and arranger, best known for his successful collaboration with bandleader and composer Duke Ellington lasting nearly three decades. His compositions include "Chelsea Bridge", "Take the "A" Train" and "Lush Life".-Early...

     composed jazz
    Jazz
    Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

     interpretations of pieces from Tchaikovsky's score, recorded and released on LP as The Nutcracker Suite
    The Nutcracker Suite (Duke Ellington album)
    The Nutcracker Suite is an album by American pianist, composer and bandleader Duke Ellington recorded for the Columbia label in 1960 featuring jazz interpretations of "The Nutcracker" by Tchaikovsky...

    . In 1999, this suite was supplemented with additional arrangements from the score by David Berger for The Harlem Nutcracker, a production of the ballet by Donald Byrd
    Donald Byrd
    Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture Byrd II, is an American jazz and rhythm and blues trumpeter. A sideman for many other jazz musicians of his generation, Byrd is best known as one of the only bebop jazz musicians who successfully pioneered the funk and soul genres while simultaneously remaining a...

     set during the Harlem Renaissance
    Harlem Renaissance
    The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned the 1920s and 1930s. At the time, it was known as the "New Negro Movement", named after the 1925 anthology by Alain Locke...

    .

  • In 1962 a novelty boogie piano
    Boogie-woogie (music)
    Boogie-woogie is a style of piano-based blues that became popular in the late 1930s and early 1940s, but originated much earlier, and was extended from piano, to three pianos at once, guitar, big band, and country and western music, and even gospel. Whilst the blues traditionally depicts a variety...

     arrangement
    Arrangement
    The American Federation of Musicians defines arranging as "the art of preparing and adapting an already written composition for presentation in other than its original form. An arrangement may include reharmonization, paraphrasing, and/or development of a composition, so that it fully represents...

     of the "Marche", entitled "Nut Rocker
    Nut Rocker
    -External links:**...

    ", was a No.1 single in the UK, and No.21 in the USA. Credited to B. Bumble and the Stingers
    B. Bumble and the Stingers
    B. Bumble and the Stingers were an American instrumental ensemble in the early 1960s, who specialized in making rock and roll arrangements of classical melodies. Their biggest hits were "Bumble Boogie" and "Nut Rocker", which reached number 1 in the UK Singles Chart in 1962...

    , it was produced by Kim Fowley
    Kim Fowley
    Kim Vincent Fowley is an American record producer, impresario, songwriter, musician, film maker, and radio actor. He is best known for his role behind a string of novelty and cult rock pop singles in the 1960s, and for managing The Runaways in the 1970s...

     and featured studio musicians Al Hazan (piano), Earl Palmer
    Earl Palmer
    Earl Cyril Palmer was an American rock & roll and rhythm and blues drummer, and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame....

     (drums), Tommy Tedesco
    Tommy Tedesco
    Thomas J. Tedesco was an American master session musician and renowned jazz and bebop guitarist.Tedesco's credits include the iconic brand-burning accompaniment theme from television's Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, Vic Mizzy's iconic theme from Green Acres, M*A*S*H, Batman, and Elvis Presley's '68...

     (guitar) and Red Callender (bass). "Nut Rocker" has subsequently been covered
    Cover version
    In popular music, a cover version or cover song, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording of a contemporary or previously recorded, commercially released song or popular song...

     by many others including The Shadows
    The Shadows
    The Shadows are a British pop group with a total of 69 UK hit-charted singles: 35 as 'The Shadows' and 34 as 'Cliff Richard and the Shadows', from the 1950s to the 2000s. Cliff Richard in casual conversation with the British rock press frequently refers to the Shadows by their nickname: 'The Shads'...

    , Emerson, Lake & Palmer
    Emerson, Lake & Palmer
    Emerson, Lake & Palmer, also known as ELP, are an English progressive rock supergroup. They found success in the 1970s and sold over forty million albums and headlined large stadium concerts. The band consists of Keith Emerson , Greg Lake and Carl Palmer...

    , The Ventures
    The Ventures
    The Ventures is an American instrumental rock band formed in 1958 in Tacoma, Washington. Founded by Don Wilson and Bob Bogle, the group in its various incarnations has had an enduring impact on the development of music worldwide. With over 100 million records sold, the group is the best-selling...

    , Dropkick Murphys
    Dropkick Murphys
    Dropkick Murphys are an Irish-American punk rock band formed in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1996. The band was initially signed to independent punk record label Hellcat Records, releasing five albums for the label, and making a name for themselves locally through constant playing and yearly St....

    , and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra
    Trans-Siberian Orchestra
    Trans-Siberian Orchestra is an American progressive metal band founded in 1993 by producer, composer, and lyricist Paul O'Neill, who brought together Jon Oliva and Al Pitrelli and keyboardist and co-producer Robert Kinkel to form the core of the creative team. Since then, TSO sold nearly 8...

    . The Ventures' own instrumental rock
    Instrumental rock
    Instrumental rock is a type of rock music which emphasizes musical instruments, and which features very little or no singing.Examples of instrumental rock can be found in practically every subgenre of rock, often from musicians who specialize in the style, most notably Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Link...

     cover of "Nut Rocker", known as "Nutty", is commonly connected to the NHL
    National Hockey League
    The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

     team, the Boston Bruins
    Boston Bruins
    The Boston Bruins are a professional ice hockey team based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. They are members of the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League . The team has been in existence since 1924, and is the league's third-oldest team and its oldest in the...

    , from being used as the theme for the Bruins' telecast games for over two decades, from the late 1960s. In 2004, The Invincible Czars arranged, recorded, and now annually perform the entire suite for rock band.

  • The Trans-Siberian Orchestra
    Trans-Siberian Orchestra
    Trans-Siberian Orchestra is an American progressive metal band founded in 1993 by producer, composer, and lyricist Paul O'Neill, who brought together Jon Oliva and Al Pitrelli and keyboardist and co-producer Robert Kinkel to form the core of the creative team. Since then, TSO sold nearly 8...

    's first album, Christmas Eve and Other Stories
    Christmas Eve and Other Stories
    Christmas Eve and Other Stories is a rock opera and Christmas album by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The story is about a young man who wanders into a bar on Christmas Eve where he encounters a mysterious old man who tells him a tale about the magical effect of Christmas day on the human race...

    , includes an instrumental piece entitled "A Mad Russian's Christmas", which is a rock version of music from The Nutcracker.

  • On the other end of the scale is the humorous Spike Jones
    Spike Jones
    Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny and other Warner Brothers cartoon characters, performed a drunken, hiccuping verse for 1942's "Clink! Clink! Another Drink"...

     version released in December 1945 and again in 1971 as part of the long play record Spike Jones is Murdering the Classics, one of the rare comedic pop records to be issued on the prestigious RCA Red Seal label.

  • The Disco Biscuits, a trance-fusion jam band from Philadelphia, have performed "Waltz of the Flowers" and "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies" on multiple occasions.

  • The Shirim Klezmer Orchestra released a klezmer
    Klezmer
    Klezmer is a musical tradition of the Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe. Played by professional musicians called klezmorim, the genre originally consisted largely of dance tunes and instrumental display pieces for weddings and other celebrations...

     version, titled "Klezmer Nutcracker," in 1998 on the Newport label. The album became the basis for a December, 2008, production by Ellen Kushner
    Ellen Kushner
    Ellen Kushner is an American writer of fantasy novels, who for many years was the host of the radio program Sound & Spirit, produced by WGBH in Boston and distributed by Public Radio International.- Background and personal life :...

    , titled "The Klezmer Nutcracker" and staged on Broadway
    Broadway theatre
    Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

     in New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

    .

  • In 2008 a progressive metal
    Progressive metal
    Progressive metal is a subgenre of heavy metal originating in the United Kingdom and North America in the late 1980s...

     / instrumental rock
    Instrumental rock
    Instrumental rock is a type of rock music which emphasizes musical instruments, and which features very little or no singing.Examples of instrumental rock can be found in practically every subgenre of rock, often from musicians who specialize in the style, most notably Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Link...

     version of The Nutcracker Suite was released by Christmas at the Devil's House. It includes Overture, March, Sugar Plum Fairy, Russian, Chinese, Arabian, Reed-Flutes, and Waltz of the Flowers.

  • In 2009, Pet Shop Boys
    Pet Shop Boys
    Pet Shop Boys are an English electronic dance music duo, consisting of Neil Tennant, who provides main vocals, keyboards and occasional guitar, and Chris Lowe on keyboards....

     used a melody from the Nutcracker Suite for their track "All Over the World", taken from their album Yes
    Yes (Pet Shop Boys album)
    Yes is the tenth studio album by English electronic duo Pet Shop Boys. The album was recorded throughout 2008 and is produced by Brian Higgins and his production team Xenomania. Xenomania also co-wrote three of the tracks. Guitarist Johnny Marr and string arranger Owen Pallett appear as well...

    .

In popular culture


For a comprehensive list of stage, film and television adaptations of The Nutcracker, see: List of productions of The Nutcracker

Film

  • The 1940 Disney animated film Fantasia
    Fantasia (film)
    Fantasia is a 1940 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released by Walt Disney Productions. The third feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, the film consists of eight animated segments set to pieces of classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski, seven of which are...

    features a segment using The Nutcracker Suite
    The Nutcracker Suite
    The Nutcracker Suite is a recording by American guitarist Tim Sparks, released in 1993. It consists of both an adaptation for acoustic guitar of Tchaikovsky's suite from his ballet The Nutcracker and the Balkan Dreams Suite, a suite of songs based on melodies and ideas of Bela Bartok...

    . This version was also included both as part of the 3-LP soundtrack album
    Soundtrack album
    A soundtrack album is any album that incorporates music directly recorded from the soundtrack of a particular feature film or television program. In some cases, not all the tracks from the movie are included in the album; however there are rare cases of songs in the trailers that do not appear in...

     of Fantasia (since released as a 2-CD set), and as a single LP, with Dance of the Hours, another Fantasia segment, on the reverse side.
  • The Spirit of Christmas
    The Spirit of Christmas (TV program)
    The Spirit of Christmas is a Christmas television special performed by marionettes. It was first aired in 1950. Its half-hour showing time is divided into two segments, one dramatizing "A Visit from St. Nicholas" and one telling the story of the Nativity. The film is narrated by Alexander...

    , a 1950 stop-motion made-for-TV featurette in color narrated by Alexander Scourby
    Alexander Scourby
    Alexander Scourby was an American film, television, and voice actor known for his deep and resonant voice...

    , utilizes the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas
    A Visit from St. Nicholas
    "A Visit from St. Nicholas", also known as "The Night Before Christmas" and "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" from its first line, is a poem first published anonymously in 1823 and generally attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, although the claim has also been made that it was written by Henry...

    , and this sequence also includes music from The Nutcracker.
  • A 1951 thirty-minute short, Santa and the Fairy Snow Queen, issued on DVD by Something Weird Video
    Something Weird Video
    Something Weird Video is an American publisher of video tapes and DVDs, based in Seattle, Washington. They specialize in exploitation film, particularly the works of Harry Novak, Doris Wishman, David F. Friedman, and Herschell Gordon Lewis. SWV videos are available on demand to Comcast subscribers...

    , features several dances from The Nutcracker.
  • A 1954 16mm short subject
    Short subject
    A short film is any film not long enough to be considered a feature film. No consensus exists as to where that boundary is drawn: the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines a short film as "an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all...

     version of The Little Match Girl
    The Little Match Girl
    The Little Match Girl is a short story by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen. The story is about a dying child's dreams and hope, and was first published in 1845. It has been adapted to various media including animated film, and a television musical.-Plot summary:On a cold New Year’s...

    features a dream sequence in which music from The Nutcracker is played.
  • In 1990, a hand animated movie, The Nutcracker Prince
    The Nutcracker Prince
    The Nutcracker Prince is a 1990 animated romantic fantasy film made by Lacewood Productions and released by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film was directed by Paul Schibli and based on the story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A...

    , was made by Lacewood Productions, but produced by Warner Bros. It starred the voices of Megan Follows
    Megan Follows
    Megan Elizabeth Laura Diana Follows is a Canadian/American actress. She is most known to international audiences for her role as Anne Shirley in the acclaimed 1985 Canadian television miniseries Anne of Green Gables and its two sequels.-Biography:Follows was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as the...

    , Keifer Sutherland, and Peter O'Toole
    Peter O'Toole
    Peter Seamus Lorcan O'Toole is an Irish actor of stage and screen. O'Toole achieved stardom in 1962 playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, and then went on to become a highly-honoured film and stage actor. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, and holds the record for most...

    .
  • In 2001 Barbie
    Barbie
    Barbie is a fashion doll manufactured by the American toy-company Mattel, Inc. and launched in March 1959. American businesswoman Ruth Handler is credited with the creation of the doll using a German doll called Bild Lilli as her inspiration....

     starred as Clara in a digitally animated film entitled Barbie in the Nutcracker
    Barbie in the Nutcracker
    Barbie in the Nutcracker is a 2001 computer animated and motion capture-based direct-to-video Barbie film directed by Owen Hurley. It was the first Barbie film since 1987's Barbie and the Rockers: Out of this World...

    with the voice of Tim Curry
    Tim Curry
    Timothy James "Tim" Curry is a British actor, singer, composer and voice actor, known for his work in a diverse range of theatre, film and television productions. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California....

     as the Mouse King.
  • In 2010, a 3D movie version of the story, The Nutcracker in 3D
    The Nutcracker in 3D
    The Nutcracker in 3D is a 2010 3D fantasy film adaption of the ballet The Nutcracker, directed by Andrei Konchalovsky. The film met with universally negative reviews from critics upon its release, and became a failure at the box office.-Plot:...

    , was given a limited release. The film stars Elle Fanning
    Elle Fanning
    Mary Elle Fanning , credited as Elle Fanning, is an American actress. She is the younger sister of actress Dakota Fanning and mainly known for her starring roles in Phoebe in Wonderland, Somewhere, Super 8 and We Bought a Zoo which will receive a theatrical release on December 23,...

    , Nathan Lane
    Nathan Lane
    Nathan Lane is an American actor of stage and screen. He is best known for his roles as Mendy in The Lisbon Traviata, Albert in The Birdcage, Max Bialystock in the musical The Producers, Ernie Smuntz in MouseHunt, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to...

     as Albert Einstein
    Albert Einstein
    Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

     (known as Uncle Albert in the film), Frances de la Tour
    Frances de la Tour
    Frances de la Tour is an English actress perhaps best known for her role as Miss Ruth Jones in the British sitcom Rising Damp, and as Madame Olympe Maxime in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.-Early life and family:De la...

    , John Turturro
    John Turturro
    John Michael Turturro is an American actor, writer and director known for his roles in the films Do the Right Thing , Miller's Crossing , Barton Fink , Quiz Show , The Big Lebowski , O Brother, Where Art Thou? and the Transformers film series...

     as the Rat King, and Charlie Rowe
    Charlie Rowe
    Charlie Rowe is an English child actor, best known for his roles as Young Tommy in Never Let Me Go and as Peter in the upcoming SyFy/Sky Movies Peter Pan prequel Neverland. He also starred as The Prince in The Nutcracker in 3D alongside Elle Fanning and as Billy Costa in The Golden Compass in 2007...

     as the Prince. The film became a failure at the box office and was widely panned by critics for turning Tchaikovsky's music into songs with forgettable lyrics, for turning the mice into Nazi-like characters, and for having horrid 3D effects. It currently stands with a 0% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes
    Rotten Tomatoes
    Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

    , and an "overwhelming dislike" 18 out of 100 score on Metacritic
    Metacritic
    Metacritic.com is a website that collates reviews of music albums, games, movies, TV shows and DVDs. For each product, a numerical score from each review is obtained and the total is averaged. An excerpt of each review is provided along with a hyperlink to the source. Three colour codes of Green,...

    .

Television

  • Princess Tutu
    Princess Tutu
    is a magical girl anime series created by Ikuko Itoh in 2002 for animation studio Hal Film Maker. It was adapted as a 2-volume manga illustrated by Mizuo Shinonome...

    , an anime
    Anime
    is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....

     that uses elements from many ballets as both music and as part of the storyline, uses the music from The Nutcracker in many places throughout its run, including using an arranged version of the overture as the theme for the main character. Both the first and last episodes feature The Nutcracker as their 'theme', and one of the main characters is named Drosselmeyer.
  • In the tenth episode of Cowboy Bebop
    Cowboy Bebop
    is a critically acclaimed and award-winning 1998 Japanese anime series directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, written by Keiko Nobumoto, and produced by Sunrise. Its 26 episodes comprise a complete storyline: set in 2071, the series follows the adventures, misadventures and tragedies of five bounty...

    , a section of the Waltz of the Flowers plays at the end of the episode.
  • A 1996 episode of The Magic School Bus
    The Magic School Bus (TV series)
    The Magic School Bus is an American Saturday morning animated television series based on the book series of the same name by Joanna Cole. It is notable for its use of celebrity talent and combining entertainment with an educational show, according to an article in Animation World Magazine by...

    ("Holiday Special", Season 3, episode 39), Wanda is planning to see a performance of The Nutcracker. Some of the music for this episode was based on the score of the ballet.
  • A House of Mouse special, Snowed in at the House of Mouse
    Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse
    Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse is the first direct-to-video movie spin off from the Disney Channel animated television series Disney's House of Mouse.-Plot:...

    , included an animated short, starring Mickey Mouse
    Mickey Mouse
    Mickey Mouse is a cartoon character created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at The Walt Disney Studio. Mickey is an anthropomorphic black mouse and typically wears red shorts, large yellow shoes, and white gloves...

     as the Nutcracker, Minnie Mouse
    Minnie Mouse
    Minerva "Minnie" Mouse is an animated character created by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney. The comic strip story "The Gleam" by Merrill De Maris and Floyd Gottfredson first gave her full name as Minerva Mouse. Minnie has since been a recurring alias for her. Minnie is currently voiced by actress Russi...

     as Maria, Ludwig von Drake
    Ludwig Von Drake
    Professor Ludwig von Drake is one of Walt Disney's cartoon and comic book characters. He was first introduced on September 24, 1961, as the presenter in the cartoon An Adventure in Color, part of the first show of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color on NBC...

     as a character based on Herr Drosselmeyer, Goofy
    Goofy
    Goofy is a cartoon character created in 1932 at Walt Disney Productions. Goofy is a tall, anthropomorphic dog, and typically wears a turtle neck and vest, with pants, shoes, white gloves, and a tall hat originally designed as a rumpled fedora. Goofy is a close friend of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck...

     as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Donald Duck
    Donald Duck
    Donald Fauntleroy Duck is a cartoon character created in 1934 at Walt Disney Productions and licensed by The Walt Disney Company. Donald is an anthropomorphic white duck with a yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet. He typically wears a sailor suit with a cap and a black or red bow tie. Donald is most...

     as the "Duck-stroke-Mouse-stroke-King-type-person" (or the Mouse King), and portrayed a brief overview of the story, sarcastically narrated by John Cleese
    John Cleese
    John Marwood Cleese is an English actor, comedian, writer, and film producer. He achieved success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and as a scriptwriter and performer on The Frost Report...

    . The story ran with modern rock
    Modern rock
    Modern rock is a rock format commonly found on commercial radio; the format consists primarily of the alternative rock genre...

    -style adaptations of Tchaikovsky's music.
  • A 2005 episode of The Simpsons
    The Simpsons
    The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie...

    called "Simpsons Christmas Stories" (Season 17, episode 9), features a montage in which are seen residents of Springfield on Christmas, singing to the tune of pieces from The Nutcracker Suite.
  • A 2007 straight-to-video animated film, Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale
    Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale
    Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale is a 2007 holiday themed animated direct-to-video film starring Tom and Jerry produced by Warner Bros. Animation...

    , features, of course, the cartoon characters Tom and Jerry
    Tom and Jerry
    Tom and Jerry are the cat and mouse cartoon characters that were evolved starting in 1939.Tom and Jerry also may refer to:Cartoon works featuring the cat and mouse so named:* The Tom and Jerry Show...

    , and incorporates elements of the ballet, including some of Tchaikovsky's music, into the film. However, it uses a very different storyline. As in Fantasia, none of the actual characters in the ballet appear, including the Nutcracker himself.
  • The Wonder Pets on Nick Jr. includes a Christmas themed episode called "Save the Nutcracker", featuring the Nutcracker and Mouse King from the original ballet, as well as much of the music.
  • An episode of the PBS Kids
    PBS Kids
    PBS Kids is the brand for children's programming aired by the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States founded in 1993. As with all PBS programming, PBS Kids programming is non-commercial. It is aimed at children ages 2 to 10...

     series Super Why!
    Super Why!
    Super Why! or The Reading Adventures of Super Why! is a CGI animated show developed by Angela C. Santomero and Samantha Freeman Alpert. The TV series is produced by New York City-based Out of the Blue Enterprises and Toronto-based DHX Media through its Decode Entertainment division. The show...

    features the Mouse King as a central character.
  • In an episode of Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps
    Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps
    Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps is a British and American CGI animated television series premiered on September 5, 2009, Nick Jr. in 2009, and Discovery Kids Latin America in 2010. A continuation of the Angelina Ballerina series of children's books by Katharine Holabird, the author and Helen...

    , Angelina sees a performance of The Nutcracker.
  • The Animaniacs
    Animaniacs
    Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs, usually referred to as simply Animaniacs, is an American animated series, distributed by Warner Bros. Television and produced by Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. The cartoon was the second animated series produced by the collaboration of Steven...

     cartoon Nutcracker Slappy featured Slappy and Skippy trying to crack open a walnut in various ways only to find it was empty, all to the music of The Nutcracker.
  • A two part episode of the Care Bears
    Care Bears
    The Care Bears are characters created by American Greetings in 1981 for use on greeting cards. The original artwork for the cards was painted by artist Elena Kucharik. In 1983, Kenner turned the Care Bears into plush teddy bears...

     cartoon series in the 1980s features the Care Bears as the main characters, with Beastley as the Rat King.
  • During the Christmas music speical of Beavis and Butt-head
    Beavis and Butt-Head
    Beavis and Butt-head is an American animated television series created by Mike Judge. The series originated from Frog Baseball, a 1992 short film by Judge. After seeing the short, MTV signed Judge to develop the concept. Beavis and Butt-head originally aired from March 8, 1993 to November 28, 1997...

    , one of the incidental bits of music they hear is the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy to which Beavis is impressed (saying it's kind of like a heavy metal song) and he even chants along to the tune.
  • In the 2009
    MythBusters (2009 season)
    The cast of the television series MythBusters perform experiments to verify or debunk urban legends, old wives' tales, and the like. This is a list of the various myths tested on the show as well as the results of the experiments .-Episode overview:-Need for Speed:-Hollywood Crash Test:Based on...

     MythBusters
    MythBusters
    MythBusters is a science entertainment TV program created and produced by Beyond Television Productions for the Discovery Channel. The series is screened by numerous international broadcasters, including Discovery Channel Australia, Discovery Channel Latin America, Discovery Channel Canada, Quest...

     Demolition Derby Special, Adam and Jamie are testing the "Need for Speed" myth. As Adam and Jamie are preparing the bus for testing, Adam is aggressively preparing the bus to the sound of heavy metal
    Heavy metal music
    Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and the United States...

    , while Jamie is gently preparing the roll cage to the tune of “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies.”
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus
    Monty Python's Flying Circus
    Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a BBC TV sketch comedy series. The shows were composed of surreality, risqué or innuendo-laden humour, sight gags and observational sketches without punchlines...

    , episode 25 (series 2, episode 12) entitled, "Spam
    Spam (Monty Python)
    "Spam" is a popular Monty Python sketch, first televised in 1970. In the sketch, two customers are in a greasy spoon café trying to order a breakfast from a menu that includes the processed meat product in almost every dish. The term spam is derived from this sketch...

    ." Within this episode is the "Hospital for Over-Actors" sketch, which includes several patients acting as the Mouse King.

Video games


In the game Bioshock
Bioshock
BioShock is a first-person shooter video game developed by 2K Boston and designed by Ken Levine. It was released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 on August 21, 2007 in North America, and three days later in Europe and Australia. It became available on Steam on August 21, 2007...

, the main character Jack meets an insane musician named Sander Cohen who tasks Jack with killing and photographing four of Sander's ex-disciples. When the third photograph is given to Sander, in a fit of pique he unleashes waves of splicer enemies to attack Jack while playing "Waltz of the Flowers" from speakers in the area.

In the original Lemmings "Dance of the Reed Pipes" is used in several levels.

In the Baby Bowser levels of Yoshi's Story
Yoshi's Story
is a side-scrolling platform game, published and developed by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 entertainment system. It is the sequel to the Super Nintendo game Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. It was released on December 21, 1997 in Japan, March 1, 1998 in North America and April 9, 1998 in Europe...

, a variation of the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy is used as the background music.

Children's recordings


There have been several recorded children's adaptations of the E.T.A. Hoffmann story – the basis for the ballet – using the Tchaikovsky music, some quite faithful, some not. One that was not was a version entitled The Nutcracker Suite for Children, narrated by Metropolitan Opera announcer Milton Cross
Milton Cross
Milton John Cross was an American radio announcer famous for his work on the NBC and ABC radio networks.He was best known as the voice of the Metropolitan Opera, hosting its Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts for 43 years, from the time of their inception in 1931 until his death in...

, which used a two-piano arrangement of the music. It was released as a 78-RPM album set in the 1940's. A later version, entitled The Nutcracker Suite, starred Denise Bryer
Denise Bryer
Denise Bryer is an English voice actress.Bryer voiced Billina in Disney's 1985 film Return to Oz, as well as The Junk Lady in the 1986 movie Labyrinth, and many other films. In addition to her work voice acting in film and television she also worked extensively on UK radio and children's recordings...

 and a full cast, was released in the 1960's on LP and made use of Tchaikovsky's music in the original orchestral arrangements. It was quite faithful to Hoffmann's story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is a story written in 1816 by E. T. A. Hoffmann in which young Marie Stahlbaum's favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls...

, on which the ballet is based, even to the point of including the section in which Clara drives her arm through the plate glass and mentioning that Clara married the Nutcracker Prince at the end. It also included a less gruesome version of "The Tale of the Hard Nut", the tale-within-a-tale in Hoffmann's story. It was released as part of the Tale Spinners for Children
Tale Spinners For Children
Tale Spinners For Children was a series of stories and novels adapted for young audiences on vinyl records in the early 1960s. They included a collection of old fairy tales, folklore, literary classics such as Don Quixote and Robinson Crusoe, and time-honored fables, with the title role sometimes...

 series.

Another children's LP, The Nutcracker Suite with Words, featured Captain Kangaroo
Captain Kangaroo
Captain Kangaroo is a children's television series which aired weekday mornings on the American television network CBS for nearly 30 years, from October 3, 1955 until December 8, 1984, making it the longest-running children's television program of its day...

's Bob Keeshan
Bob Keeshan
Robert James "Bob" Keeshan was an American television producer and actor. He is most notable as the title character of the children's television program Captain Kangaroo, which became an icon for millions of people during its 30-year run from 1955 to 1984.Keeshan also played the original...

 narrating the story, and sung versions of the different movements, with special lyrics.

Journalism

  • In 2009, Pulitzer Prize
    Pulitzer Prize
    The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

    -winning dance critic Sarah Kaufman wrote a series of articles for The Washington Post
    The Washington Post
    The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

    criticizing the primacy of The Nutcracker in the American repertory for stunting the creative evolution of ballet in the United States:

  • In 2010, Alastair Macaulay
    Alastair Macaulay
    Alastair Macaulay is a dance critic for the New York Times. He was previously chief dance critic at The Times Literary Supplement and chief theater critic of the Financial Times, both of London...

    , dance critic for The New York Times
    The New York Times
    The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

    (who had previously taken Sarah Kaufman to task for her criticism of The Nutcracker) began The Nutcracker Chronicles, a series of blog articles documenting his travels across the United States to see different productions of the ballet.


Samples


External links







MP3 recordings of The Nutcracker