Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Nutcracker - a 55-minute version with narration

The dining table in New York City
Ever since the great success of The Story of Swan Lake in the Maestro Classics series of works for narrator and orchestra, people have been asking when we would do The Nutcracker. We finally decided to give it a try and added it to the recording session this month in London.

Before that however........ the full-length ballet needed to be cut to a maximum of 55 minutes so that it could fit onto a CD. 5 minutes for info on the ballet and Tchaikovsky + 5 minutes for the conductor to talk about the music + 5 minutes for a surprise track in a different genre (perhaps bellydancing this time?!) left 55 minutes on a 70-minute CD for the work itself.

Tchaikovsky created a Nutcracker Suite but he just took a few of the movements out of the ballet so you miss a lot of the iconic music that we all love. We took on the far greater challenge of pruning each of the movements so that you hear the entire ballet with 27 measures cut here and 6 there, etc. It took 7 days of sitting together 10 hours a day for the maestro and me to cut the score and it has taken 4 weeks of 2 or 3 of us to cut the 35 separate orchestra parts, each about 50 pages!

Only comment on photo above.... you should see the cuttings on the floor!


  1. Wow, that sounds like a lot of work. But I am sure the finished product will be well worth it.

    Looking forward to the Nutcracker.


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