Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky was a Russian composer of the Romantic Period.
He wrote the Nutcracker ballet and suite in 1892 along with Romeo and Julliet and Sleeping Beauty.
He was born in 1840 and died in 1893.
His music was very expressive and showed great emotion.
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
The melody of this piece is played by a celesta-an instrument that was quite new at the time. It is like a small piano or keyboard. At the beginning of the piece the celesta is accompanied by strings.
Also, a bass clarinet plays.
The piece is in the ternary form, ABA.
A Trepak is a fast, exciting Russian dance. In the ballet, the dancers vigorously kick out their legs from a squatting position. Tchaikovsky has used a full orchestra for this piece.
The piece is also in the Ternary Form, ABA.
A tambourine is heard when the main theme is playing.
The piece is allegro. This is an Italian word for fast. Also, the piece is lively and loud.
The piece has a strigendo, which means it gradually gets faster.
In this piece the melody is played by two woodwind instruments, the piccolo and the flute.
As well as the woodwind, lower strings and two basoons play. The basoons play throughout the dance playing a crisp accompaniment.
In the middle section. the clarinet plays an ostinato.
The piece is in the major key.
Dance of the Reed Flutes
This dance has very contrasting sections. The beginning is very light and graceful, with three flutes playing the melody and are accompanied by strings (violas, cellos, basses). The strings are played with pizzicato. This means plucked.
The middle part is played by the full brass section. It feels more dramatic than the previous section. This section is in the minor key.
the flute melody returns in the last section to end the piece. It is allegro (fast), staccato, major, high-pitched and elegant.
The piece, like the others. is in the Ternary Form ABA.