23. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Nutcracker, Videos

.. and I know, too, that you probably don’t need to hear Nutcracker ANY time of the year, but … well …

(And I watch this and just keep thinking, “THE REED! THE REED! You are going to ruin the REED!”)

23. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Nutcracker

Okay, you’d think I’d have had enough, but this was fun!

… and today I play my final two Nuts!

10. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Nutcracker, Videos

Both here in San Jose and elsewhere …


Garrett Hudson, Flute
Erin Tsai, Oboe
Jack Marquardt, Clarinet
Tracy Jacobson, Bassoon
Anni Hochhalter, French Horn

16. December 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: Nutcracker

Sonata da Chiesa Chamber Ensemble

15. December 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: Nutcracker

Anna and Arkadiusz Szafraniec on glass harp

14. December 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: Nutcracker

Quartet Konick

13. December 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: Nutcracker

Balalaika Prima
Domra Alto
Balalika Double Bass

Tamara Volskaya (domra) & Anatoliy Trofimov (bayan)

… but not for me!

Yep, that’s right folks — I’m not playing Nutcrackers this year. How ’bout that.

Still, I think it’s only right to feature various renditions of sections of the work. And I always want to do what is right! So here you go … rendition #1:

Nutcracker as Salsa

One of the friends I made on my travels asked me how “The Nutcracker” should end. It’s not just a good question, it’s actually one of the two most troubling questions that this ballet prompts. Does the heroine, Clara or Marie (she has other names too), return to her parents? Was the ballet just her dream? Or do she and the Nutcracker Prince set off for yet another world — for his own land, which we never see?

If you attend to Tchaikovsky, the score implies that this second act should close as it started: perhaps it’s journeying music, perhaps it’s a distant view of the Sweets landscape. The 1892 premiere ended, most ambiguously of all, with a view of a hive with eight dancing bees: since bees make honey, they are agents of Sweetness, and the hive — as hymned by Virgil — is an image of a perfect state. The Sugar Plum Fairy, deep inside the hive, was the queen bee.

Nobody onstage has connected bees to “The Nutcracker” in a century.

Yes, I should really just leave the Nut in peace, but I had never read this before, so there you go!