This Christmas season I have been a bit "passionate" about the Nutcracker, learning and researching about how the story by E. T. A. Hoffman came about. He creates an unusual story, that is a bit morbid about a Nutcracker, Queen Mouse, a Mouse King with seven heads, a little girl name Marie and a Godfather who is a bit eccentric. The story Godfather Herr Drosselmeyer shares with Marie and her brother Fritz are filled with complicated ideals of insanity. The story was adapted later into a children's story that was a bit more "digestible" and manageable for kids.
The story was brought to life though the ballet in Russia and the composer Tchaikovsky was given the opportunity to create music that still makes Christmas come to life. The way he wrote the music provides a beautiful tale of adventure with a little girl who loves a nutcracker "doll". Some of the songs are March, The Chinese Dance, the Miniature Overture. Yet one of the songs that is always played each season is The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Tchaikovsky created the song in his style, yet we live in a world where different genres can be infused. This Christmas season I found two arrangements that have really caught my attention that I had to share them with you. Think you will like them.
The first is from Chrissy Ricker, a composer at pianopronto.com called Sugar Plum Blues. Ricker takes Tchaikovsky's ideas and incorporates plenty of "blues and jazz" concepts that will get the audiences attention. She keeps the song in E minor, yet the full sounds she creates with incredible dynamics and an exciting interlude in the middle that will get the audience to do more than just tap their feet. They might want to get up and dance. The legatos and staccatos will certainly catch the player and listens attention. This song is worth check out.
The second song that caught my attention with the Nutcracker is from Alexa Madison from pianolanguage.com. I have to admit that in this last year I've had a chance to learn about who she is and what an incredible composer and musician she is. Perhaps you already know of her, the incredible works she's created. While searching for more Nutcracker ideas I came across an arrangement called Sugar Plum Fairy Rock. The rock style she creates in the bass clef will definitely get more than feet tapping. You will want to move when you hear this piece. Of course she added dynamics that will keep you in suspense, wondering what will happen next. The simple melody is filled with color and vibrancy, just like Chrissy Ricker's arrangement.
If you're looking for some fun ideas to play this Christmas time with a small group, student event or play for fun please consider these songs as some options. Thanks for your support. Blessings.