A favourite ballet all round the year, but a perennial at Christmas-time, Tchaikovsky’s evergreen Nutcracker has never perhaps received as luxurious a recorded performance as that of Charles Dutoit and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.
The coupling – Aurora’s Dream – is a suite of dances, mostly from the last act of The Sleeping Beauty, put together by Sergei Diaghilev to enable him to give performances of this music without throwing him into heavy debt (which was the case with his staging of the lavish production with the Ballets Russes at London’s Alhambra Theatre in 1921).
PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY
The Sleeping Beauty: Aurora’s Wedding
Chœurs d’enfants de l’école FACE
Iwan Edwards, chorus master
Orchestre symphonique de Montréal
Recording Producer: Michael Woolcock
Balance Engineer: Stanley Goodall
Recording Location: St Eustache, Montréal, Canada, May & October 1992
‘Dutoit made his debut with the OSM in 1977, and together they made some fine discs for Decca in the 1980s, many of which were also commended for their superb sound quality … If you like big band Tchaikovsky then this could be the set for you. It’s a first-class recording, with thrilling amplitude and plenty of spectacle’ MusicWeb International
‘Outstanding complete recordings of The Nutcracker proliferate and this new Montreal set is certainly one of them … many of the favourite characteristic dances seem freshly minted … immediately noticeable in the delightful gossamer string textures of the “Miniature Overture”. But the big Act 2 Adagio, too, is exceptionally satisfying, its histrionics conveyed with passionate flair, yet without hysterical rhetoric at the excitingly grand climax. … The recording is extremely vivid: bright but without glare, naturally balanced’ Gramophone