Tchaikovsky was commissioned to write this ballet in 1890, and it was first performed in 1892, a year before his death. The reception was lukewarm, at best - the audience seemed to much prefer his older ballet Swan Lake. The Nutcracker ballet slipped into obscurity for fifty years, but Tchaikovsky's orchestral Suite quickly became one of his most popular compositions.
The entire Suite comprises three parts: an Overture, the Dances, and the Waltz of the Flowers. Disney's 1940 film Fantasia included both the Dances and the Waltz. Today, we'll see the Dances:
Now I only had boys, so we missed the whole ballerina thing. But when they were small, they were both mesmerized by this part of Fantasia - particularly the Frost Faeries and the Cossack dancers. And who doesn't love the dancing Mushrooms? The entire set of Dances (not all included in Fantasia) are:
So welcome to the official start of Saturnalia, with the Official Shopping Theme for the whole Saturnalia season! Stop back next week for more Saturnalia music.
- Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy
- Russian Dance
- Arabian Dance
- Chinese Dance
* OK, you caught me - we're still about 3 weeks out from Saturnalia. But Black Friday marks the official start of the Saturnalia Shopping Season. Can't start too soon, you know.