Recently I attended a Christmas concert at a local community theater and the music was awesome. A local group named The Unforgettable Big Band put on quite a show and along with traditional holiday songs they performed a Jazz composition of The Nutcracker originally created by Duke Ellington. The production inspired me to do a little research on The Nutcracker and write a little historical info about this traditional Christmas favorite.
The original music score was created by Pyotr IIlich Tchaikovsky in 1892. The concept was taken from the story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” written by E.T.A. Hoffman (I can’t help but wonder if he may have had a job in transportation). The original production of the ballet was not a success although the music was popular. The ballet’s popularity started to pick up in the 1960s and now countless ballet companies worldwide perform this Christmas classic every holiday season. Eventually Tchaikovsky’s musical score became one of his most famous compositions. Having never experienced a ballet before I attended a production of The Nutcracker several years ago and found the dancing and music were quite enjoyable.
Variations on the Nutcracker have been created and performed by a variety of musical artists over the years. In 1942 orchestra leader Freddy Martin recorded The Nutcracker Suite for Dance Orchestra which has been described as a mixture of dance music and jazz. In 1947 Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians recorded a version with custom lyrics and the Duke Ellington jazz version I heard was released in 1960. There have been swing music variations on the Nutcracker, jazz variations, instrumental rock variations and even a rap variation called the ‘Nutcracka’ (WHAT?). What a diverse range of genres for a classical piece of music.
Speaking of classics, as a fan of classic rock I came accross something I was not aware of. AC/DC actually has a Christmas version of ‘Hells Bells’ called ‘Jingle Hells Bells’ and another Christmas song titled “All I want for Christmas is a Mistress’. Nothing says Christmas like AC/DC I guess.
With Christmas quickly approaching the Hallmark channels are offering many Christmas movies for family viewing and I would like to mention 2 films I saw recently that were fun and entertaining. The first is Christmas in Evergreen. A fun tale concerning a magical snow globe and how the globe grants someone’s wish if it truly is what their heart desires. The second movie I highly recommend is Christmas in Angel Falls which deals with heavenly Angels who attempt to rekindle the Christmas spirit in a town where life’s circumstances have robbed the citizens of their past Christmas enjoyment.
Alrighty then, this wraps up my initial Music and Movie Monday blog feature. I have been thinking and experimenting and thinking some more and I would like to have movies and music as a regular Monday feature. Hopefully you enjoyed reading this piece as much as I enjoyed writing it. As always comments are welcome and encouraged. See you soon……………………