Crown of Roses & Tchaikovsky & Sunday Music

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, “Legend (The Crown of Roses),” sung by Tenebrae, directed by Nigel Short, performed at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Philadelphia (2012).

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Sunday Music & Tchaikovsky & Merciful Peace

Back to our regular Sunday Specials. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, “Merciful Peace.” From Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Performed by The USSR Ministry of Culture Chamber Choir, directed by Valeri Polyansky (1990).

OK, I admit things are kind of placid around here after our link to the explosive finale of Nightskyradio’s riotous Rocktober Countown!!!!!!!!! That being said, one still has to stay on one’s toes. And on that note, I am obliged now to provide you with the following safety advisory warning.

Listeners, please be on the alert for an abrupt volume change at 2:21. Repeat, abrupt volume change occurs at 2:21. If you are using earphones or any other high fidelity listening device, please adjust volume downward at 2:20. Repeat, adjust volume downward at 2:20. Thank you.

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy & Tchaikovsky & The Nutcracker

Mariinsky Ballet, dancer unknown?

My youthful milieu was not such as to encourage me to share this musical preference (“Hey guys, you know what I really like? ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’! You know, in The Nutcracker? Isn’t it neat?!?”) but hey, I’m a lot older, and nothing matters too much anymore, so I can say that I’ve always grooved on this, probably my favorite single piece of Christmas music. The celesta, the pizzicato on strings, and the brooding cascades from the woodwinds come together to create this ethereal but thick and mysterious texture.

But I’m no expert on ballet. For you honored readers I ended up watching about fifteen versions (and a lot of them more than once) before I ended up settling on this one. I can’t justify why I did. The picture quality is not great, the sound has some fuzz in the background, I’m pretty sure they cut a hefty chunk of the music out in the middle, and I didn’t really need the half minute of applause at the end. But the dancer struck me as extraordinarily pretty and graceful.

A strong contender was this spectacular interpretation from Disney’s Fantasia:

Plus, the music is more complete and the sound quality is better.