We love classical music. All three of my children play the piano and it's wonderful now my older two can actually play 'music' rather than the early 'plunking' on the keys. So when we were offered the chance to review The Nutcracker from Maestro Classics we were all really excited.
I think almost everyone has heard of the Nutcracker Ballet. It is a Christmas Classic! As a child I have watched this ballet numerous times, and my children have watch various TV/Video versions, but there is nothing like listening to an audio story and music in the car while you drive.
This CD arrived on a Friday morning just before a swim meet. We had a 90 minute drive Saturday morning, so I was really excited with the timing. So at 4:45 AM I put the CD in and turned it up loud relying on the beautiful music to keep me awake on the drive. Within a few minutes Jam was asleep on the backseat but Boo was sitting next to me and did a really good job at staying awake. However, it was 5 AM and she had 5 races that morning so I convinced her that the music would keep me awake and encouraged her to snuggle under her blanket and let the music drift her to sleep. The CD finished just as we were coming to the outskirts of the city we were swimming in and so I was really pleased. Boo was sad she missed it but I reminded her we still had a 90 minute drive home and I was more than willing to listen to it again.
The swim meet went well and everyone was in good spirits to drive home. Jam was riding with his friend as he was going straight to a youth church dance, so I had Boo and her friend riding home with me. They were both excited to play the CD so as we were leaving the pool car park I popped it in again. Both girls loved the music and the story and it kept us entertained all the way home. Boo kept comparing the story to her childhood cartoon version so it introduced a good discussion about artistic license and how some people change tradition stories when they reproduce them in a different format.
I don't think I need to dwell to much on the story but it starts out on Christmas Eve at a big annual Christmas party given by Clara and Fritz's parents. The most anticipated event of the night each year was when Herr Drosselmeyer gives the children his presents. This year was no exception and the children were thrilled with the life-size dolls, trumpet, and Clara's special Nut-Cracker.
This version is one-hour long and I felt shortens the story a little but the music is amazing. The only thing I wish is that it included a version of the music without the audio track. However, I understand the main purpose of the CD is to combine the two.
If you love classical music especially Tchaikovsky's music this would be a really nice addition to your collection. Jim Weiss does a really good job with the story telling.
I can't wait to listen to this again with my Christmas tree lights twinkling - perfect Christmas night activity.
We haven't had much chance to work on the curriculum guide. However when we listen to this again at Christmas I will definitely be using some of it with Captain. It talks about what a Ballet is, coloring pages and recipe ideas. Perfect for the holiday season.
Others on the crew reviewed the classic story of Peter and The Wolf. So you have to check out the other reviews!
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