This is the concluding recording in Neeme Järvi’s series with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra devoted to Tchaikovsky’s three great ballets. This complete, uncut version of The Nutcracker follows The Sleeping Beauty (CHSA 5113(2)) and Swan Lake (CHSA 5124 (2)), both of which have been much awarded.
The Nutcracker draws its influences from both Hoffmann’s and Dumas’s tales of the same name, and makes delightful use of ‘le joli’, i.e. ‘the pretty’, in music – vivacious themes decked out in ingenious orchestration – already mastered by Léo Delibes in Coppélia.
The Nutcracker relates the dreams of Clara Silberhaus on Christmas Eve, aroused by the nutcracker which her mysterious godfather has given her. Then the guests’ lulling and languishing waltzes take her on a fantastic journey from a mystical snowy forest to the princely kingdom of Confiturembourg. Tchaikovsky illustrates this journey with various musical themes, such as confectionary, flowers, and Mirlitons, as well as Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian dances.
Commissioned by the director of the Imperial Theatres, Ivan Vsevolozhsky, and originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, The Nutcracker was premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg in 1892. It came in a double-bill with the opera Iolanta, also commissioned by Vsevolozhsky. For this recording, Neeme Järvi and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra have re-explored Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece together, in order to offer a completely new experience of one of the most-performed ballets in musical history. (CHANDOS)