Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Nutcracker In July 29

Before I share today's Nutcracker with you, I just wanted to say how surprised I've been with the reaction to this series. I figured it would be the red-headed stepchild to the normal Christmas in July posts, but you folks have really welcomed it and made it seem like a worthwhile addition to the month. Good to know that there are people out there who are interested in these sorts of things.  Tonight's version is no mystery whatsoever, it's a real group, a real person, and a real recording.  This is The New York Philharmonic-Leonard Bernstein, Conductor from Prokofiev: Peter And The Wolf/Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite (Columbia Masterworks MS 6193, Stereo, 1960). Enjoy!

9 comments:

Buster said...

I don't believe I have this one, and I expect it to be interesting. Not necessarily good, but interesting. Thanks!

Sky Raven said...

This was one of the first classical LPs I bought in the late 60's while in college... nice to hear it again. I think it's a pretty good performance. Thanks for posting this one. Burt

Santa Claus said...

Ernie

Had trouble with this email account for a while and finally got things settled...

Could you try Handel's Messiah and Bach's Christmas Oratorio for the next one??? There's two Kurt Thomas recordings from 1951 and 1958 that I've been looking for for ages and no luck on any angle under my price range... If I find these in any format other than digital...consider them to be my holy grail of Christmas records...

Is a full Nutcracker in the works for a finale???

I'm not sure if I can listen to a number of selections of the suite without laughing because of the Jingle Cats versions ruining it for me...

Santa Claus said...

Just found the 1958 in CD format... The original LPs are 7 times higher than what I want to pay for them... This practically just leaves the 1951...

Ernie said...

Bernstein is, to my eyes, one of the biggies of the 20th century, at least in his championing of this sort of music. I would expect just about anything he does to be worth a listen. In fact, I meant to listen to the flip side of this LP, but I didn't get a chance to. It's Peter and the Wolf, with Bernstein himself narrating. It can't be as good as Weird Al's version with Wendy Carlos, but then nothing could be...

Santa-I think those where full-LP versions, where-as the Nutcrackers I've been highlighting have been partial album versions. That's why their eligible for Christmas in July. Them's the rules. :)

Badgercat said...

I agree about Berstein. He is a biggie and I enjoyed this share. His version of Carol of the Bells is probably my favorite.

Ernie said...

Taking a tour of Carnegie Hall last year, they tell an interesting story of Berstein from the time he lived there in an apartment near the top of the building. From his window, he could see some tenement buildings that were being torn down, but they were supposed to be used to film West Side Story before the demolition was to begin. So he ran over and somehow got the demo guys to stop so the filming could take place first. Not sure how true that is, especially if you know any construction workers, and how little attention they might pay to some symphony conductor...

Santa Claus said...

As much as we have to thank Bernstein for making Mahler popular...he drove me nuts with his tempi... It was at both extremes (too fast or too slow) at once with nothing in the middle... I liked just about everything else he did...just will never recommend his Mahler to my worst enemy...even on a dare...

I prefer the Walter and Otto Klemperer versions over BOTH Bernstein cycles...even when their cycles were missing pieces in both of those other two great conductors...

The ones to watch out for are the late Gilbert Kaplan versions from the Resurrection symphony's signature score...and it was closer to the Walter performances than anything... Kaplan even did one on Mahler's metronome markings alone...and it was more satisfying than even Walter in the Urlicht movement...but just about even everywhere else...

Buster said...

Yeah, the Bernstein Nutcracker was as idiosyncratic as I expected. He makes a gradual crescendo in the Miniature Overture, ignoring the "Miniature" aspect. Some of the dances are so fast that they couldn't be used as, you know, dance accompaniments.

I've made the mistake a few times of watching videos of Bernstein conducting. I wouldn't think he would have ever agreed to accompany a production of the Nutcracker in the theater because then his contortions and facial expressions could not have been seen by the audience.