Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is one of the most prolific composers in the music world’s rich history. He is the man behind beloved works such as ‘Opus 15 Festival Overture in D on the Danish National Anthem,’ ‘Cappricio Italien in A For Orchestra,’ and ‘Opus 36 Symphony No. 4 in F Minor’ just to name a few works. He is also the driving force behind the Nutcracker Ballet, Swan Lake, and of course the world-renowned ‘1812 Overture’ just to name a few more. In all, Tchaikovsky composed nearly one hundred works over the span of his life. So there are far too many to name in one sitting. Now thanks to children’s classical label Maestro Classics, young listeners now get to learn about just one of that mass of compositions, The Nutcracker in the new release Maestro Classics: The Nutcracker. The song remains one of Tchaikovsky’s most talked about works more than two hundred years after it debuted at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia. It remains so well-known because of the long-held belief about Tchaikovsky’s own view of the song. The belief in question is that Tchaikovsky held a certain distaste for the song even having been the one that composed the work. The truth of the matter is that he in fact probably didn’t dislike the composition as much as believed but was instead surprised by its success. In fact it remains one of the one of the most beloved of Tchaikovsky’s compositions the world over to this day. It can be heard at performances of The Nutcracker Ballet around the world every year during the holidays. So it is fitting that Maestro Classics released the centuries-old standard this past October just in time to properly get listeners into the holiday spirit. With its new release via Maestro Classics it’s certain to become even more of a favorite. The main reason for that is its overall presentation. That will be discussed at more length later. The narration by Jim Weiss adds even more enjoyment to the composition. That will be discussed at more length later. Last but hardly least worth noting of this recording is its companion booklet. The recording’s companion booklet offers a thorough background on the history of The Nutcracker and even offers up a few extras that music educators at every level will appreciate. Together with the composition’s narration and its overall presentation, the recording in whole proves to be a presentation that not only will children appreciate but adults as well. This being the case, it makes itself one more of this year’s best new musical holiday offerings and one of the year’s best new children’s albums.
Maestro Classics’ new presentation of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker’ is one of the best of this year’s musical holiday offerings and one of the year’s best new children’s offerings overall, too. The main reason for this is the overall presentation of the centuries old composition. For those that don’t know, ‘The Nutcracker’ is a roughly hour-long musical composition composed of two separate acts that are themselves separated into multiple movements along the way. The movements are not short either. Luckily for those that might be less familiar with The Nutcracker Suite, Maestro Classics has broken the whole thing down into twenty-one separate tracks in its new presentation. The longest of those tracks comes in at nearly seven minutes. The shortest–‘Chinese Dance’–comes in at just over a minute in length. This clear separation of the suite’s movements into even smaller subsections is a major positive for the recording. That is because it ensures even more that listeners will remain engaged. Had the composition been presented in its original format here, odds are the length of the movements would not have been able to keep listeners’ ears. So to have broken it down in the fashion presented here is very much a good thing.
The separation of ‘The Nutcracker’s’ movements into even smaller segments in its presentation here is good in that it ensures audiences’ engagement. That is just one positive of the recording’s overall presentation of the composition in this platform. Having it so decisively segmented plays a secondary purpose. That purpose is to help educators in teaching their students not only about the composition within itself but certain mechanics of music theory, too. It is yet another way in which the recording’s overall presentation proves so important to its enjoyment. Both the manifest and latent function of ‘The Nutcracker’s’ overall presentation prove in their own fashion why said presentation style is so important to the recording. It’s just one part of the recording that makes this recording so enjoyable. The narration on the part of Jim Weiss is yet another important part of the recording that makes it enjoyable.
The general presentation of ‘The Nutcracker’ in this recording is the foundation of its success. The foundation alone does not make a solid, singular structure, though. Keeping this in mind, Maestro Classics builds on the foundation established by ‘The Nutcracker’s’ overall presentation by including narration by none Jim Weiss. Weiss’ narration completely envelops listeners in both the musical and literary story presented in this recording. That is thanks in large part to his delivery style. There is a certain gentility in his delivery that makes suspension of disbelief so simple. In the same breath, it also paints such a vivid picture for viewers as he narrates each scene whether listeners are enjoying the story at home or in the car. It makes listeners feel as if he is sitting right next to them, telling the story as it progresses. His narration couples with the separation of the song’s movements to make the record’s overall listening experience all the more enjoyable, proving even more why this recording is one of the year’s best new musical holiday offerings as well as one of the year’s best new children’s musical offerings. Both elements play their own important roles in the overall presentation of ‘The Nutcracker’ from Maestro Classics. They are not all that makes this presentation of the beloved classical composition is so impressive. The companion booklet that comes with the recording rounds out its most notable elements.
The segmentation of ‘The Nutcracker’ into multiple tracks in Maestro Classics’ new presentation of the classic composition is a key factor in its enjoyment in its presentation here. The additional narration on the part of Jim Weiss makes the recording all the more enjoyable for listeners. While both elements are unquestionably important in their own right to the overall listening experience of ‘The Nutcracker’ they are collectively only a portion of what makes this latest release from Maestro Classics so enjoyable. The recording’s companion booklet rounds out the recording’s positives. It includes a brief but concise history on both ‘The Nutcracker’ and on Tchaikovsky. There is also some basic music theory material mixed into the booklet that is directly connected to ‘The Nutcracker.’ It is such a great addition to ‘The Nutcracker’s’ overall presentation in that it serves to make the recording one that can be enjoyed any time of the year despite being a story that takes place around Christmas. What’s more it serves to make this recording one that listeners of any age any time of the year. Considering this alongside the previously noted elements of the recording’s general presentation and its narration, the recording in whole shows without question again why it is one of the year’s best new musical holiday offerings and one of the year’s best new children’s albums. In full consideration, one could even argue it to be one of the year’s best new classical releases since classical reaches not just children but listeners of all ages.
Maestro Classics’ new recording of ‘The Nutcracker’ is a triple threat of a recording. It is one of the year’s best new musical holiday offerings, one of the year’s best new children’s albums and even one of the year’s best new classical releases. The main reason for that is the wide separation of the song’s movements. Such separation ensures even more listeners’ engagement regardless of their ages. The additional narration by Jim Weiss adds even more enjoyment to the recording. The companion booklet that comes with the recording rounds out its presentation showing once and for all exactly why listeners of all ages, not just children, will enjoy this recording. The booklet includes a brief but concise history of ‘The Nutcracker’ and an equally short but concise bio on Tchaikovsky. There’s even some music theory material that could serve as the starting point for classroom lessons. Each element shows in its own right to be greatly important to the whole of this recording. Collectively, they make Maestro Classics’ presentation of ‘The Nutcracker’ a recording that audiences will enjoy listening to not only during the holidays but throughout the year. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct via Maestro Classics’ official online store at http://www.maestroclassics.com/the-nutcracker.html. More information on this and other titles from Maestro Classics is available online now at: