The pervasiveness of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker

Listen 00:48:45

Guests: Beatrice Jona Affron, David Fox

This time of year, we are inundated with songs from the unofficial Christmas music cannon. Perhaps the most pervasive has been the music of Tchaikovsky’s final ballet, “The Nutcracker”. While the piece was initially the least popular of his three ballets, the insistent melodies have endured since its premier over 120 years ago. Today, we’ll discuss the music of “The Nutcracker.” We’ll examine its history, its importance, and why it was so innovative. We’ll be joined by the conductor of the Pennsylvania Ballet BEATRICE JONA AFFRON, who has led Nutcracker orchestras some 400 times in her tenure with the company. We’ll also hear from DAVID FOX, lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania in theater arts and English and a theater critic for Philadelphia Magazine.

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