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Tuesday, October 27

Maestro Classics Review : The Nutcracker

We love the Nutcracker!  What started as a quest to get the kids into more cultural settings, quickly turned into a holiday tradition.  We love to go see the ballet, and one that we’re eagerly anticipating already (even though, yes, it isn’t Halloween yet).   So when afforded the chance to preview Maestro Classics new cd, The Nutcracker, our family jumped at it!  The icing on the cake is that it’s narrated by Jim Weiss, one of the boys’ favorite audio book narrators.  Merry {early} Christmas to us!

If you’re unfamiliar with the story, ...Clara receives a nutcracker for Christmas, and wonderful things begin to happen.   There’s the battle with the Mouse King, the nutcracker magically transforming into a handsome prince, the trip to the kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and finally the question the next morning of whether it was all Clara's dream.  Was it?

The cd is a 58-minute version which includes both Act 1 and 2 (full condensed score) - music from every scene in the ballet - not just the Nutcracker Suite version, which is mostly Act II dances.  This child-friendly adaptation of the complete ballet score is given a beautiful retelling of the story by Jim Weiss, America's premiere storyteller.  It is, without a doubt, the perfect preparation for any child going to The Nutcracker ballet this holiday season. 

Maestro Classics was started to help parents and children better understand and enjoy symphonic music.  They combine the performance of symphony music with narrations, ranging from classical children’s stories to historical tidbits about the authors and composers.  Their end goal is to create musical performances that will appeal to audiences of all ages.

The performances on their cds feature the London Philharmonic Orchestra performances, sing-a-longs, about the music, about the author or composer, and more.  These compositions are geared toward children ages 5 to 12, but are truly entertainment for the entire family. 

As we drove through Tennessee listening to the Nutcracker, we frequently had to turn up the volume because we were “playing our instruments” right along with the music, and singing along loudly!  We had to stop the music occasionally and reminisce about a memory from Christmases past.  Also, at one pit stop, we had to take a moment to re-enact the Moroccan Dance, which had just finished playing!

When you purchase a Maestro Classics cd, you have the option of a digital recording or physical cd.  Every cd (digital or physical) includes a small activity book that contains the history and background of the music, words to the sing-a-long songs, information about the composer’s life, puzzles, and more.

If you’re listening to The Nutcracker at home, instead of in the car, try some of these great hands-on ideas to get you into the holiday mood!
Maestro Classics Review
See what others are saying about Maestro Classics over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

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