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Nutcracker - Tchaikovsky (1892)
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The Nutcracker ballet

Arttoday.com copyrightę 2001 ArtToday.com, Inc. All Rights ReservedThe ballet "The Nutcracker", ordered by the Royal Opera of Saint Petersburg is based on a fairy-tale about a nutcracker given as a gift to child, on Christmas Eve. This suite consists of eight main scenes from the famous story.

At night, the little girl comes to see the toys she has been given, and falls asleep among them. A war breaks out between the mice and the toy soldiers, who make the nutcracker their leader. As a decision is near, seemingly to the mice's favor, the little girl helps the soldiers by throwing a shoe at the leader mouse's head. The mice flee everywhere, and the nutcracker turns into a handsome prince. Later, a grand celebration takes place in the king's palace, in the girl's honor, and in fact most of the suite's dances are part of this feast.

It is amazing that this optimistic, naive music was composed at the same time as Tchaikovsky's "the Pathétique" Symphony, that tragic piece of a musician with a dark secret, one that was considered a crime in those days. Tchaikovsky's ability to write, simultaneously, two separate pieces, so contrary in atmosphere and content, and put all of his skill and soul into both, is particularly remarkable.

The suite's movements are:

Overture
Reminds a music box tune
March
A dialog between the woodwinds and the strings
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
Where, for the first time, the celesta appeared in the orchestra
Trepak
A Cossack dance
Arabian dance
Of Oriental character and style
Chinese dance
The dancers present the tea before its drinking
Dance of the Reed Flutes
Three flutes accompanied by the strings, in pizzicato
Waltz of the Flowers
The famous captivating part
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