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Nutcracker Suite

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Tchaikovsky in 1893

The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a is a selection of 8 musical numbers Tchaikovsky made from The Nutcracker ballet for a concert performance before the St. Petersburg branch of the Musical Society on March 19, 1892.[1] Every number was acclaimed and repeated, and the suite became an instant hit.[2] The complete ballet was first performed on December 17, 1892. It was not a success. It did not gain any popularity until George Balanchine staged a production in New York City.[3] The suite however was very popular in concert. It was featured in Disney's Fantasia. The Nutcracker Suite should not be mistaken for the complete ballet.

The numbers chosen by Tchaikovsky for The Nutcracker Suite and their sequence within the suite are as follows:

I. Miniature Overture
II. Danses caractéristiques
a. Marche
b. Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy [ending altered from ballet-version]
c. Russian Dance (Trepak)
d. Arabian Dance
e. Chinese Dance
f. Reed-Flutes
III. Waltz of the Flowers

Tchaikovsky selected other numbers from the ballet to form a second suite:

Act I, Tableau I: Nos. 4 & 5
Act II: Adagio from the Grand Pas de Deux
Act II: Introduction, Scene Dansante, and Spanish Dance
Act II: Final Waltz and Apotheosis