Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker is easily the most recognized and loved classical composition of all time. With its glorious music, holiday flavor, fairy-tale story, sets, costumes and dancing, the Nutcracker has found its way into the hearts of millions of people - of all ages - all over the world.
After writing the Nutcracker ballet in 1892, Tchaikovsky was asked to assemble a short collection of its pieces for concert purposes. This collection, comprising about one quarter of the ballet, became known as the Nutcracker Suite. The suite has been performed more often than the ballet itself, and as a result, its music is the Nutcracker's most familiar.
When John Wasson and I began discussing the idea of arranging the Nutcracker for brass and percussion, we had several options. Our first inclination was to record just the suite, but because the ballet contains so much great music, with which many people are unfamiliar, we decided to record as much music as would fit on a single CD. We chose to shorten several of the lengthier pieces and omit three others - the most significant of which was the battle scene.
In the Dallas Brass Nutcracker, our goal was to achieve a full symphonic sound. The core of the arrangement is for brass, but we feel the percussion, harp, celeste and choir add the color and depth needed to capture the essence of Tchaikovsky's original score.
We encourage those not familiar with the Nutcracker ballet to obtain a recording of the complete work. There are also several videos available, and a "live" performance is something everyone should experience.
We hope you enjoy the Dallas Brass Nutcracker!
Michael Levine - Founder and Director, Dallas Brass