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Best Nutcracker??

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Jamie Tate, Dec 14, 2002.

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  1. Jamie Tate

    Jamie Tate New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Nashville
    I've been listening to the Nutcracker on a mid-80's CBS Masterworks CD. This version was conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas and is really quite good. I like Tilie's stuff.

    What are your favorite versions and are they still in print?
     
  2. guy incognito

    guy incognito Senior Member

    Location:
    Mee-chigan
    I'm rather partial to Valery Gergiev's recording with the Kirov Orchestra (made in 1998, on the Philips label, still in print). Very well-played at a brisk tempo, which not only gives a livelier dimension to the music (especially the character dances in Act Two) but allowed them to fit the entire ballet onto a single 80-minute CD...a great bargain! It was also recorded with tube equipment and sounds exquisite.

    And of course, there's Duke Ellington's awesome 1961 jazz reinterpretation of the Suite, available on Columbia's Three Suites CD.

    I've never heard the Tilson Thomas Nutcracker, but I do admire him as a conductor. He's a great interpreter of Aaron Copland.
     
  3. Andrew

    Andrew Chairman of the Bored

    The Dorati version on Philips was one of my first classical LPs back in the day (1970s). The CD now comes with a couple of Concert Suites as a bonus!



    [​IMG]
     
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    The first Dorati on Mercury Living Presence stereo 1950's

    The Ernest Ansermet on London/Decca stereo 1950's

    Finally (believe it or not), the Lorin Maazel on Telarc from 1981 is an amazing performance.

    You can't go wrong with these three. They are the best!
     
  5. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    Location:
    The West
  6. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    Also the Ormandy version on Columbia is excellent.
     
  7. guy incognito

    guy incognito Senior Member

    Location:
    Mee-chigan
    Steve, am I mistaken or did I read someplace that those old Living Presence recordings were actually done on 35mm film?

    At any rate, that is another terrific performance, probably my favorite after Gergiev's.
     
  8. Andrew

    Andrew Chairman of the Bored

    If interested in just the highlights, consider this DG disc with Rostropovich that also has music from Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.


    [​IMG]
     
  9. Jamie Tate

    Jamie Tate New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Nashville
    Well, I spent $150 (obsessive??) buying all the CDs you guys suggested (how's that for trust?). Couldn't find a couple of them. They're all great thanks for the tips. Each one has something I really like.

    My favorite has to be the first Dorati on Mercury Living Presence stereo 1950's. There's just something special about it. It's a very dynamic performance... staccato, tight and powerful. Sounds great especially considering it's vintage. Dennis Drake mastered it although the liner notes say there was no filtering, equalization, limiting or compression done to the tapes/ film. Lots of audible edits which I'll have to get used to.

    It says they used three Telefunken 201 mics which were recorded to a 3-track Westex vacuum-tube film recorder and an Ampex 3-track half-inch recorder. For the CDs they played the tapes back on the restored original recorders. Pretty impressive!
     
  10. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    Location:
    The West
    The Gergiev sounds very cool! I'm gonna have to get that this weekend. Should be an interesting contrast to the dramatic reading by Mackerras I own.

    This post has also inspired me to get the Living Presence CD before it goes away forever. How we got from these purist transfers of the early to mid 90s (BMG did the same thing with the Living Stereo CDs) to the over processed NoNoised muck we're seeing now is beyond reason! :sigh:

    Dan C
     
  11. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    That's the one that was "imprinted" on me as a four year old. I can distinctly remember my mom bringing that album home for me from the department store. A loooong time ago. I still love to play it!
     
    McLover likes this.
  12. Jamie Tate

    Jamie Tate New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Nashville
    He suggested the first Dorati on Mercury Living Presence also. Interesting.

    I was raised on the Andre Previn LSO version. My mom went through hell trying to find that record for me. She finally got Higbee's in downtown Cleveland (it's the actual store they filmed for A Christmas Story) to special order it for her. This was in 1978 when I was in 2nd grade. It was all I wanted for Christmas that year. Were classical records that hard to find? Seems weird.
     
  13. Sorry I'm late Jamie. It's been a long Saturday and a long "computer" week. I agree with the Dan meister. I have the full 2 CD Sir Charles version from 1986. It is very nice.

    But based on what I've read here, though, I may check out the Dorati version on Mercury Living Presence sterero.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Jamie Tate

    Jamie Tate New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Nashville
    I was just reading about it.

    Thanks Mike, I got that tonight too. I've had the single disc version for several years but since I was going nuts anyway I thought I'd get the full two disc set.
     
  15. sgraham

    sgraham New Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    I'm partial to the old Readers Digest Festival of Light Classical Music version by Sir Adrain Boult. That set was pretty much my introduction to classical music. This performance was reissued by Chesky, but somehow I was a bit disappointed in the sonics. I still like the performance, though, and the distant perspective. (And that car horn beeping at the end of one of the quiet pieces.)
     
  16. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    I have the Columbia Ormandy version of the Highlights on LP, the Baryshnikov production of it on VHS, a budget CD and the Arthur Fiedler version of it on a Time-Life CD.
     
  17. Larry Naramore

    Larry Naramore Bonafied Knucklehead

    Location:
    Sun Valley, Calif.
    Where did you purchase this one?
     
  18. Jamie Tate

    Jamie Tate New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Nashville
    Tower for $25.99


    I have the Ormandy too Bradley. I like it a lot.

    How's the Fiedler?
     
  19. Larry Naramore

    Larry Naramore Bonafied Knucklehead

    Location:
    Sun Valley, Calif.
    Tower store or Tower.com?
     
  20. Jamie Tate

    Jamie Tate New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Nashville
    Tower store.
     
  21. Ronflugelguy

    Ronflugelguy Resident Trumpet Geek

    Location:
    Modesto,Ca
    Well, I spent $150 (obsessive??) buying all the CDs you guys suggested (how's that for trust?). Couldn't find a couple of them. They're all great thanks for the tips. Each one has something I really like.

    My favorite has to be the first Dorati on Mercury Living Presence stereo 1950's. There's just something special about it. It's a very dynamic performance... staccato, tight and powerful. Sounds great especially considering it's vintage. Dennis Drake mastered it although the liner notes say there was no filtering, equalization, limiting or compression done to the tapes/ film. Lots of audible edits which I'll have to get used to.

    It says they used three Telefunken 201 mics which were recorded to a 3-track Westex vacuum-tube film recorder and an Ampex 3-track half-inch recorder. For the CDs they played the tapes back on the restored original recorders. Pretty impressive!

    I t seems to me that the "LIVING PRESCENCE SERIES" has ended. Can Any one verify this? They have not released any titles in a long while. Ther are still plenty in the can. I cherish all the ones that I own, although some are a bit bright, but the performances are exciting and overall the sound is immediate and excellent. I especially enjoy the Fennell Discs. Hope to get the Nutcraker soon!:)
     
  22. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    Location:
    The West
    That was an amazing reissue series, really one of the top classical CD highlights of the 90's. They started to reissue the early 50's mono Living Presence recordings as well but only a few or several came out before they unfortunaly stopped.

    The original Mercury producer, Wilma Cozart Fine, deserves all the credit for these. It's because of her that they used the correct tapes and vintage equipment.

    Check this out, nice in depth story on Wilma, Living Presence, and the CD remasters:

    http://www.xs4all.nl/~rabruil/mercury.html

    Dan C
     
  23. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    The Arthur Fiedler version isn't the best but it is a good performance for pop oriented listeners. I like the Fiedler version a lot.
     
  24. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    Location:
    The West
    BTW, nice job helping to save the troubled classical music industry! I'm planning on doing the same today, but the 'donation' won't be quite as, uh, generous. ;)

    Happy listening,
    Dan C
     
  25. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

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