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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, “Chocolate”

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: a Christmas favorite keeps us coming back for more…

Tchaikovsky had a vexed relationship with “The Nutcracker.” He was never totally happy with the scenario, disliking the plot for its childish fantasy and lack of dramatic pacing. This has certainly never bothered fans, however, who return year after year to see fine dancing and to hear guileless music of almost otherworldly charm. In a reversal of the more customary practice, in which a composer whittles down a large-scale work into an orchestral suite, with “The Nutcracker” the suite was actually written first! This suite featured many of the most famous dances from the Act II divertissement, including the three we just heard. These dances depict three of the least troublesome addictive substances—chocolate, coffee, and tea, with exotic musical depictions of (respectively) Spanish, Arabian, and Chinese music.

Music Heard On This Episode

Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker; “Chocolate”
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Vladimir Ashkenazy, cond. — Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker; Glazunov: The Seasons (Polygram Records, 1992)
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album cover
Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker; “Chocolate”
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Vladimir Ashkenazy, cond. — Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker; Glazunov: The Seasons (Polygram Records, 1992)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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