Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Tchaikovsky
LABELS: BMG Melodiya
WORKS: The Nutcracker
PERFORMER: Orchestra & Children’s Choir of the Bolshoi Theatre/Gennady Rozhdestvensky
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 40067 2 ADD (1961)
Get past the surprisingly scrawny Bolshoi string sound, the rasping brass and the odd Melodiya balances, and Rozhdestvensky’s is the very model of a perfectly-paced Nutcracker. There’s no slack in the exciting narrative sequences and no sense of rush either (least of all when the two Act I transformation scenes need to bloom). Save for a side-drum raucously substituted for Mother Gigogne’s tambourine and a sugar-plum celesta that starts an octave too high, the shorter dances are ideally characterised. Only bargain-price Previn (CFP), more plushly upholstered, is a sweeter guide. David Nice