Tchaikovsky by Arrangement: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King or The Clockmaker’s Tale: A Re-telling by John Mauceri

(3 customer reviews)

Catalogue No: TOCC0704
EAN/UPC: 5060113447043
Release Date: 2023-10-06
Composer: John Mauceri, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Artists: Alan Cumming, John Mauceri, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker, which has its origins in a novella by E. T. A. Hoffmann, contains some of the best-loved music ever written. But its composer wasn’t very happy with it, perhaps because the plot he was given to work with allowed him to present only a series of dances, losing the moral basis of Hoffman’s surprisingly modern tale, with its messages of inclusivity and what is now called ‘women’s agency’ – here it is the little girl who saves the prince. Hoffmann’s aspirational story continues well after the ballet ends, with the little girl, now grown up, marrying the prince, who is now king. John Mauceri has brought the ballet back to its inspiration, calling on music from elsewhere in Tchaikovsky’s orchestral output to fashion this ‘re-telling’, marrying Hoffmann’s text and Tchaikovsky’s music for the first time.

This is very much a Scottish product, by the way, even leaving aside Toccata’s Scottish origins: the orchestra is the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, John Mauceri spent seven years as music director of Scottish Opera in Glasgow, and the narrator is Alan Cumming, now a NY-based gay icon but born in Aberfeldy and brought up in Carnoustie.

Alan Cumming, narrator
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
John Mauceri, conductor

Listen To This Recording:

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

  1. Overture (2:11)

Part One: Nuremberg, 1416 (19:04)

  1. Once a Long Time Ago (2:57)
  2. The Mousetrap! (1:59)
  3. Princess Pirlipat (1:59)
  4. The Curse (3:54)
  5. Searching for a Cure (4:18)
  6. The Krakatuk Nut (2:19)
  7. The Curse is Lifted (0:27)
  8. The Mouse Queen’s Death (1:11)


  1. The Drosselmeyers (2:36)

Part Two: Nuremberg, 1816 (42:08)

  1. Christmas Eve (2:11)
  2. Godfather Drosselmeyer (1:20)
  3. The Miniature Marzipan Castle (1:18)
  4. The Nutcracker (3:04)
  5. Stranger Things (2:30)
  6. The Great Battle (1:16)
  7. After the Dream (2:04)
  8. Drosselmeyer’s Story (2:50)
  9. Marie’s Devotion (1:30)
  10. The Mouse King Returns (2:25)
  11. Fritz’s Sabre (3:24)
  12. The Great Voyage Begins (2:30)
  13. Candy Meadow (1:54)
  14. The Mechanical Ballet Troupe (1:47)
  15. Sailing on Rose Petals (5:08)
  16. The Capital City (2:24)
  17. The Marzipan Castle (3:07)
  18. Empty Twaddle! (1:26)

Part Three: Nuremberg, 1834-Today (9:11)

  1. As Time Goes By (1:43)
  2. Nathaniel Drosselmeyer (1:37)
  3. The King’s Proposal (3:05)
  4. Epilogue (2:46)

First Recording

3 reviews for Tchaikovsky by Arrangement: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King or The Clockmaker’s Tale: A Re-telling by John Mauceri

  1. :

    ‘Mauceri directs the Royal Scottish National Orchestra skillfully throughout, and the musicians do a fine job in what is essentially a subsidiary role beneath the narration. […] Here the emphasis is strongly on the story, with the music used in illustrative mode – while in Tchaikovsky’s original, everything is about the music, which more-or-less-successfully drags along the inadequacies of the plot [of the ballet]. […] there is a lot to enjoy here.’


  2. :

    ‘After the tutus, sugarplums and delirious music, what “The Nutcracker” usually leaves us with is a craving for more. Which is precisely what one gets from “The Nutcracker” and the Mouse King,” a ballet-free combination prequel, sequel and reimagining of the familiar E.T.A. Hoffmann story, with music by a formidable Russian, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and live narration by an impish Scotsman, Alan Cumming.’

    —John Anderson, The Wall Street Journal

  3. :

    This reimagining of the Nutcracker puts.a real plot into what was a truncated story.

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