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Tchaikovsky's ballet of the Nutcracker is based on Alexandre Dumas' translation of the original tale by E.T.A. Hoffman. Act 1 tells a story of how little Clara aids her magical Christmas gift (a nutcracker in the form of a soldier) defeat an army of mice. As a reward, in Act 2, he takes her to his magic kingdom and introduces her to a variety of subjects in a colorful stream of character dances. Tchaikovsky was initially displeased with the scenario for the ballet, which would be his last, because it lacked real drama. However, he reconciled himself to it and completed the Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a, which was popular from its first performance, before going on to complete the entire ballet. Those seven dances ? including the familiar Spanish (Chocolate), Arab (Coffee), Chinese (Tea), and Russian dances ? and the overture are essentially the same as they appeared in the final, full ballet. To these he added interludes and scenes, with music and orchestrations that are just as delightful. His supply of lovely themes is endless, and he constantly provides brilliant orchestration.
This arrangement features an additional bass part for use with string orchestra.
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