Le ballet féerique (Les Petites Fées) (French Edition)

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The party begins. Suddenly, as the owl-topped grandmother clock strikes eight, a mysterious figure enters the room.

Maurice Béjart - « Casse-noisette », par le Béjart Ballet Lausanne. Musique de Tchaïkovski

It is Drosselmeyer, a local councilman, magician, and Clara's godfather. He is also a talented toymaker who has brought with him gifts for the children, including four lifelike dolls who dance to the delight of all. Clara and Fritz are sad to see the dolls being taken away, but Drosselmeyer has yet another toy for them: a wooden nutcracker carved in the shape of a little man. The other children ignore it, but Clara immediately takes a liking to it. Fritz, however, breaks it, and Clara is heartbroken.

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 Drosselmeyer perched atop it. 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 soldiers and the mice, led by their king. They begin to eat the soldiers. The nutcracker appears to lead the soldiers, who are joined by tin soldiers , and by dolls who serve as doctors to carry away the wounded.

As the Mouse King advances on the still-wounded nutcracker, Clara throws her slipper at him, distracting him long enough for the nutcracker to stab him. The mice retreat and the nutcracker is transformed into a handsome Prince. He recounts for her how he had been saved from the Mouse King by Clara and transformed back into himself.

In honor of the young heroine, a celebration of sweets from around the world is produced: chocolate from Spain, coffee from Arabia, [26] [27] tea from China, [28] and candy canes from Russia [29] all dance for their amusement; Danish shepherdesses perform on their flutes; [30] Mother Ginger has her children, the Polichinelles, emerge from under her enormous hoop skirt to dance; a string of beautiful flowers perform a waltz. A final waltz is performed by all the sweets, after which the Sugar Plum Fairy ushers Clara and the Prince down from their throne.

He bows to her, she kisses Clara goodbye, and leads them to a reindeer drawn sleigh. It takes off as they wave goodbye to all the subjects who wave back. In the original libretto, the ballet's apotheosis "represents a large beehive with flying bees, closely guarding their riches". The Nutcracker is one of the composer's most popular compositions.

The music belongs to the Romantic 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. Tchaikovsky is said to have argued with a friend who wagered that the composer could not write a melody based on a one-octave scale 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 , 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. However, he first wrote for the celesta in his symphonic ballad The Voyevoda the previous year. 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. The original ballet is only about 85 minutes long if performed without applause or an intermission, and therefore much shorter than either Swan Lake or The Sleeping Beauty , but 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.

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

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In the film Fantasia , commentator Deems Taylor observes that he "really detested" the score. Tchaikovsky accepted the commission from Vsevolozhsky but did not particularly want to write the ballet [38] though he did write to a friend while composing it: "I am daily becoming more and more attuned to my task". The music is written for an orchestra with the following instrumentation.

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 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. List of acts, scenes tableaux and musical numbers, along with tempo indications. Numbers are given according to the original Russian and French titles of the first edition score , the piano reduction score by Sergei Taneyev , both published by P.

The suite was first performed, under the composer's direction, on 19 March at an assembly of the Saint Petersburg branch of the Musical Society. 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. 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. The pianist and conductor Mikhail Pletnev adapted some of the music into a virtuosic concert suite for piano solo:.

Many recordings have been made since of the Nutcracker Suite , which made its initial appearance on disc that year in what is now historically considered the first record album. Because of the ballet's approximate hour and a half length when performed without intermission, applause, or interpolated numbers, it fits very comfortably onto two LPs. Most CD recordings take up two discs, often with fillers. An exception is the minute Philips recording by Valery Gergiev that fits onto one CD because of Gergiev's somewhat brisker speeds.

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. There have been two major theatrical film versions of the ballet, made within seven years of each other, and both were given soundtrack albums. 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.

The music is played by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Several films having little or nothing to do with the ballet or the original Hoffmann tale have used its music:. There have been several recorded children's adaptations of the E. Hoffmann story the basis for the ballet using Tchaikovsky's music, some quite faithful, some not.


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One that was not was a version titled The Nutcracker Suite for Children , narrated by Metropolitan Opera announcer Milton Cross , which used a two-piano arrangement of the music. It was released as a RPM album set in the s. It was released on one side of a RPM disc. It was quite faithful to Hoffmann's story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King , on which the ballet is based, even to the point of including the section in which Clara cuts her arm on the glass toy cabinet, and also mentioning that she married the 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 series. That warm and welcoming veneer of domestic bliss in The Nutcracker gives the appearance that all is just plummy in the ballet world. But ballet is beset by serious ailments that threaten its future in this country The tyranny of The Nutcracker is emblematic of how dull and risk-averse American ballet has become.

There were moments throughout the 20th century when ballet was brave. When it threw bold punches at its own conventions. Afraid of scandal?


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Not these free-thinkers; Vaslav Nijinsky 's rough-hewn, aggressive Rite of Spring famously put Paris in an uproar in Where are this century's provocations? Has ballet become so entwined with its "Nutcracker" image, so fearfully wedded to unthreatening offerings, that it has forgotten how eye-opening and ultimately nourishing creative destruction can be? Act I of The Nutcracker ends with snow falling and snowflakes dancing. Yet The Nutcracker is now seasonal entertainment even in parts of America where snow seldom falls: Hawaii, the California coast, Florida.

Over the last 70 years this ballet—conceived in the Old World—has become an American institution. The importance of this ballet to America has become a phenomenon that surely says as much about this country as it does about this work of art. So this year I'm running a Nutcracker marathon: taking in as many different American productions as I can reasonably manage in November and December, from coast to coast more than 20, if all goes well.

List of compositions by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. This article is about the ballet and the music by Tchaikovsky. For other uses, see Nutcracker disambiguation. Main article: List of productions of The Nutcracker. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Variation of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Adage Variation du Prince Coqueluche M. It has been suggested that this section be split out into another article titled Tchaikovsky's music in popular culture.

Discuss January This article contains embedded lists that may be poorly defined, unverified or indiscriminate. Please help to clean it up to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. Where appropriate, incorporate items into the main body of the article. December For a comprehensive list of stage, film and television adaptations, see List of productions of The Nutcracker. Crain's New York Business.

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