Music Mondays - The Nutcracker

Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

December is a busy month for musicians! We run from performances to rehearsals and back to performances almost constantly all the way up until Christmas morning. It is busy, but the extra money helps spread the joy and ease the financial strain of buying gifts for loved ones. 

I'll be honest, one of the only holiday traditions that I really enjoy is the Nutcracker. It might be the only holiday music/performance I enjoy listening to at this time of the year, every year. There, I said it. I remember going to see the Ballet every year in Seattle, and then in London. The music is classic and wonderful and in my opinion is Tchaikovsky at his finest. Nowadays I don't get to watch the Nutcracker because I'm busy playing in the orchestra pit, but I still love the music in any form: the original, Duke Ellington's jazz suite, or the Klezmer version.....wait, what!? 

Admittedly, I've never been the person to press play on Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving or go out and buy the newest Holiday album. I don't not like it, but I don't need to be constantly reminded of chestnuts on an open fire and sleigh rides to get in the spirit of the holiday (a peppermint mocha and Christmas cookies seem to do the trick for me). My mother, on the other hand, has a five-disc selection of her favorite holiday albums that play on repeat beginning at what feels like the stroke of midnight after Thanksgiving and ending in the new year. I try my best to infuse her collection with new music just to break the monotony of her tried and true favorites. Several years ago I gave her the Duke Ellington Nutcracker Suite to spice the selection up a little bit. 

The Tulsa Symphony just performed our "Home for the Holidays" concerts, and as a new and exciting addition to the program, we included "A Klezmer Nutcracker: Three Orchestral Miniatures" by Steve Cohen. It was a blast! I tried to find it on youtube and uncovered a wealth of Klezmer Nutcrackers. Who Knew? Sadly I couldn't find any performances of Cohen's creation but this one is pretty charming don't you think? (you can find samplings of the cohen on his website but unfortunately no full versions, bummer. )

....gotta love the Latkes Queens.

Anyways - enjoy this sampling of my favorite holiday tradition and if you're in Tulsa, make sure you get your tickets to see the Tulsa Ballet performance featuring the Tulsa Symphony. 

check for more information and wave at me in the pit if you attend, I would love to see you there!