Tchaikovsky wrote his Nutcracker ballet in 1892. The story is an adaptation by Dumas of E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the King of the Mice. It concerns an old German nutcracker, who, having been saved from being defeated at the hands of the King of the mice by the child Clara, is changed into a handsome prince. He takes her on a journey to the kingdom of sweets, and they are entertained by divertissements of exotic dreams.
For the music for ‘Aurora’s Wedding’, Diaghileff arranged as a suite some of the best items from the original score. A short overture contains fragments of the prologue, the roaring theme of the wicked fairy, Carabosse, and the motif of her adversary, the Lilac Fairy. With the start of a brilliant Polonaise, the curtains rises and the entire court advances. There are the King and the Queen, Aurora and her Prince and the leading nobles of the realm. This portion concludes with a waltz, one of the Tchaikovsky’s most beautiful, which is danced by the Lilac Fairy. The final duo is a compendium of the devices for rousing the enthusiasm of the audience. Aurora and her Prince Charming perform a noble and sustained adagio and the ballet concludes with a mazurka with the curtain falling after a hymn-like final page.
Leopold Stokowski collected together the best of the New York players for His Symphony Orchestra. The leading freelance musicians were teamed up with principles from the NBC Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.