The Nutcracker! Is there anything more beautiful or more classic than this world famous ballet? I’ve always loved Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, so I was thrilled to be able to review The Nutcracker from Maestro Classics this month. What better way to share my love for this beautiful play with my kids than through this remarkable re-telling of the story with music!
Maestro Classics are musical CDs that revolve around a story. Maestro Classics have won over 45 prestigious awards for their Stories in Music CD series. These CDs really are so much fun! Full of beautiful performances, these CDs will transport your family to another place and time and give your family a memorable listening experience.
Maestro Classics has three main goals: “to expand musical horizons, develop listening skills, and encourage parents and children to listen to music together.”
Maestro Classics currently has twelve story and music CDs in their collection. Their 12th and newest release is The Nutcracker! Other titles in their collection include Peter and the Wolf, The Story of Swan Lake, The Tortoise and the Hare, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Juanita the Spanish Lobster, Carnival of the Animals, Casey at the Bat, My Name is Handel, Merry Pranks of Master Till, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and The Soldier’s Tale.
Each CD brings a well-known story to life with music by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Included with each CD is a 24 page full-color booklet filled with activities, facts, puzzles, and interesting tidbits. These CDs are suitable for children ages 5 to 12.
The Nutcracker is an hour long CD of pure enjoyment. The story starts on Christmas eve with Clara and her brother, Fritz, at their parents’ Christmas party. Everyone is dancing to music and having a lovely time. The children are excited about the toy maker, Herr Drosselmeyer’s, arrival. He comes each year to bring them gifts.
Clara receives a special gift from Drosselmeyer, a nutcracker doll. That evening Clara hears mice, so she crawls out of bed and tiptoes back downstairs. That’s when things become magical. Everything grows larger and comes to life, including her nutcracker doll, who turns into a handsome prince.
Throughout the story, the narrator speaks while the beautiful music of The Nutcracker plays. Sometimes, you get to just sit back and enjoy the music. The music is beautiful!
The CD comes with a little booklet, as all the Maestro Classics do. The booklet features the different scenes of the play. It also contains information about the composer, the harp, and the history of ballet. There’s a little word scramble and a crossword puzzle in there, too. There’s even an online curriculum guide to go along with The Nutcracker if you’d like to do a more thorough study with your kids!
Thoughts and Usage
We listened to The Nutcracker in the car while we were on a long trip. Listening in the car is a great way to listen without distractions getting in the way. The kids loved the story as well as the music. Even my little four year old was enchanted with the story and followed right along!
Every now and then I’d ask the kids a question about what was happening in the story, what kind of toy Fritz got, or how they were enjoying the music. They always knew what was going on with the story, and there was no fighting in the back seat the entire time, so I think they were enjoying themselves. <grins>
Maestro Classics CD is a beautiful presentation of The Nutcracker. It made our long drive very enjoyable! We’re looking forward to listening to this CD more in the weeks ahead, as we prepare to go to The Nutcracker ballet live performance! So exciting! In fact, I’m looking forward to using The Nutcracker curriculum guide as well, to get everyone familiar with the story, history, and music.