The Nutcracker Suite Opus 71a by Tchaikovsky is a fairy tale in two acts. It was written as a commission under Ivan Vsevolozhsky in 1891 and premiered one week before Christmas in 1892. The story is based on a young girl’s Christmas Eve as she awakes to a larger world and romance that goes with it. Like all great and worthy music, it took its time making its rounds. The first performance out of Russia was in England in 1934. In American the San Francisco Ballet performed it in 1944. It finally became a hit when George Ballanchine staged it in 1954 in New York City.
MY FAVORITE NUTCRACKER STORY
My favorite Nutcracker story, I must humbly add, involves my wife, Sharon, and a slight parallel with my compositions. Sharon is my lyricist and orchestral arranger. She is always complaining about how the melodies I write have such a large range. Often she has to transpose and sometimes, kindly asking for my approval, rework entire whole phrases down one octave in order to meet the needs of singers. Similarly, a friend of Tschaikovsky dared him to write a melody within the confines of one octave. He took the dare. It is the Grande Adage of the Grand Pas de Deux in the 2nd act of the Nutcracker Suite. At that point, Marsa/Clara dances with the Nutcracker prince who is her magical Christmas present.
GUESTS CAN HEAR ME PLAY THE NUTCRACKER SUITE IN BOCA GRANDE