Main content

The Nutcracker - Strange Enchantments

Think The Nutcracker is a super-saccharine classic for the feel-good season? Think again. But don't let its dark undertones spoil your enjoyment of a balletic masterpiece.

Think of The Nutcracker as a super-saccharine classic for the feel-good season? Think again.
Is everything really all sweetness and light in the world of sugar-plum fairy? No! But don't let the tale's dark undertones spoil your enjoyment of the wonderful music.

Tom Service tears the gaudy wrapping paper from Tchaikovsky's balletic masterpiece to remind us you don't always get what you want. Behind the tinsel and fluffy snowflakes lies a story imbued with darkness and death. But maybe that is the secret of its unfading allure and beauty.

Tom is joined by Marina Frolova-Walker and Peggy Reynolds to crack the most popular nut in the repertoire.

Available now

30 minutes

Music Played

  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    The Nutcracker - Overture

    Performer: Mariinsky Orchestra. Performer: Valery Gergiev.
    • Philips Classics .
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    The Nutcracker - Chinese Dance

    Performer: Mariinsky Orchestra. Performer: Valery Gergiev.
    • Philips Classics .
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    The Nutcracker - Waltz of the Flowers

    Performer: Mariinsky Orchestra. Performer: Valery Gergiev.
    • Philips Classics .
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    The Nutcracker - Waltz of the Snowflakes

    Performer: Mariinsky Orchestra. Performer: Valery Gergiev.
    • Philips Classics.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    The Nutcracker - Russian Dance

    Performer: Mariinsky Orchestra. Performer: Valery Gergiev.
    • Philips Classics.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    The Nutcracker - Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

    Performer: Mariinsky Orchestra. Performer: Valery Gergiev.
    • Philips Classics.
  • Pyotr IlyichTchaikovsky arr. Ellington/ Strayhorn

    The Nutcracker Suite - Sugar Rum Cherry

    Performer: Duke Ellington & His Orchestra.
    • Columbia ?.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Iolanata - Atchevo eta prezhde ne znala

    Performer: Anna Netrebko. Performer: Mariinsky Orchestra. Performer: Valery Gergiev.
    • DG.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    The Nutcracker - Arabian Dance

    Performer: Mariinsky Orchestra. Performer: Valery Gergiev.
    • Philips Classics.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    The Nutcracker - Departure of the Guests

    Performer: Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre. Performer: Alexander Vedernikov.
    • Pentatone.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

    Performer: Mariinsky Orchestra. Performer: Valery Gergiev.
    • Philips Classics.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    The Nutcracker - Pas de Deux

    Performer: Mariinsky Orchestra. Performer: Valery Gergiev.
    • Philips Classics.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    The Nutcracker - Waltz of the Flowers

    Performer: Mariinsky Orchestra. Performer: Valery Gergiev.
    • Philips Classics.

Broadcast

Six mind-expanding music podcasts to download in 2019

Six mind-expanding music podcasts to download in 2019

Love music? Looking for new ear-fodder for your commute? We've got you covered.

Why do we call it 'classical' music?

Why do we call it 'classical' music?

Tom Service poses a very simple question (with a not-so-simple answer).

Six of the world's most extreme voices

Six of the world's most extreme voices

From babies to Mongolian throat singers: whose voice is the most extreme of all?

How did the number 12 revolutionise music?

How did the number 12 revolutionise music?

How Schoenberg opened a new cosmos for composers and listeners to explore.

Why are we all addicted to bass?

Why are we all addicted to bass?

Bass is everywhere, but why do we enjoy it? Join Tom Service on a journey of discovery.

Watch the animations

Watch the animations

Join Tom Service on a musical journey through beginnings, repetition and bass lines.

When does noise become music?

When does noise become music?

We like to think we can separate “noise” from “music”, but is it that simple?

Podcast