The Nutcracker: A Ballet Story Put to Classical Music

The Nutcracker Stories in Music {a review, www.QuietInTheChaos.com}

Maestro Classics produces beautiful stories put to music; we have reviewed some of their Cds before.  This time, we reviewed one of their newest additions: The Nutcracker.  I received the physical CD, along with the activity book as part of The Crew.

This 1 hour version of the Nutcracker ballet is narrated by Jim Weiss, music is performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and originally composed by Tchaikovsky.  Many of you know the story of the Nutcracker, but just incase here is a link to a synopsis of the story.  I won’t recount the entire thing here.  =)

What We Thought About The Nutcracker

First of all, I can tell you that anything by Maestro is going to be just beautifully done.  But the Nutcracker is an absolute favorite!  My five year old daughter has asked to listen to this classic story on CD almost every single day since we received it.  She loves to look at the activity book pictures while she listens, or dance around to the music.  I think at this point she can quote most of the narration … that is how much she enjoys it!

The music is of course the classic Nutcracker composed by Tchaikovsky, but Jim Weiss (as many know) in the king of narration!  He keeps the music the center of the story, while adding just enough for those young listeners to really be able to visualize what is happening in the story.  There are beautiful details in the story.

Just like last time, one my daughter’s favorite things was pointing out the different musical instruments.  We read about the harp inside the activity book that was included with the CD.  She enjoyed doing the crossword puzzle with me, but is still a big young for the longer words in the word scramble.  She really enjoyed learning what different words from the activity book meant, such as overture, and discussing the sugar plum fairies and other details of the story.

Inside the activity book you will find:

  • The ballet acts broken down
  • A thorough history of ballet
  • An overture to The Nutcracker
  • The history and details of the harp
  • a short biography of Pytor Ilych Tchaikovsky
  • A word scramble
  • Crossword puzzle
  • It is all surrounded by beautiful illustrations

What I love about this CD is the music and narration are in perfect harmony; neither is too loud or overpowering of the other, they perfectly compliment each other.  Both my daughter and my son have enjoyed playing while listening to The Nutcracker.  They have turned it into their own pretend play and love acting it out.  The music makes the narration so exciting, you cannot help but enjoy it.  Lexie just keeps saying, “it is just a beautiful story, mama, isn’t it?”  =)

Overall, like all their other productions, the Nutcracker is a beautiful story put to music.  Their CDs would make perfect gifts or stocking stuffers for any child that enjoys books on tape and/or classical music.  I think we will be giving some as gifts this year!

There are also great curriculum guides to go along with Maestro’s classics!  Check them out.

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