Eugene Ormandy's disc of Nutcracker excerpts, including the entire "suite" plus a good bit of additional music (Act 1's journey through the snow and Waltz of the Snowflakes, along with some more Act 2 dances, including the Final Waltz and Apotheosis) must be one of the biggest selling records of all time. Having grown up in the 1960s and '70s, I can't think of anyone who didn't own it at one time or another, and its lustrous musical values haven't dimmed a bit. Ormandy finds every scrap of color in the music. Of course we expect the gorgeous strings, but even the percussion, right down to the suspended cymbals in the March, has a sort of picture-postcard vividness that never has been equaled and makes every other performance of this music,Read more however fine, pale just a bit in comparison. As a bonus, we also get fantastic performances of four Rimsky-Korsakov encores, including the best-ever Dance of the Tumblers from The Snow Maiden. The Farewell of the Tsar closes the program quietly, with a sly wink, and I wouldn't be surprised if at this point you immediately decided to listen to it all over again. Sounding better than ever, and at a budget price, this disc deserves to sell another few million copies. [11/8/2003]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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