Thursday, December 1, 2011

Music Library No. 7: Overture to The Nutcracker

Many families have holiday traditions that bind them together. When I was a child, my father organized us into the "Family Orchestra" and the day after Thanksgiving, he would pull out his Christmas Carol orchestra parts and we would all set after dinner and play for half an hour. My sister on piano, I on violin, one brother on percussion and the other on clarinet with my father on violin and my mother on cello. Then on Christmas Day when friends came to visit, we would play for them. There was always a good amount of complaining but the moment we began we had a very good time. It does not feel like Christmas if I don't play some carols on my flute.

When my own children were growing up, we had a set ritual of performances that we attended. The Nutcracker ballet, Dicken's Christmas Carol at Ford's Theater in DC, and the Washington Chamber Symphony's Holiday Sing-Along at the Kennedy Center conducted by my husband were all "musts."

The overture to Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Nutcracker" is perhaps the best-known piece of classical music for the holidays, so it being December, I thought that it was perfect to start out the month.

I like this recording very much.  Book Cover

I also highly recommend watching the American Ballet Theater video of The Nutcracker, especially if you plan to go to a performance. The great thing about watching the video together is that you can stop it and explain the story, if you need to. Also, it is a good indication of whether this is the right time for your child to fall in love with this Christmas classic.

Note the great bargain if you have a VHS player! Click on the VHS image below.


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