Decca's Ultimate Ballet: The Essential Masterpieces is a budget box set of five discs covering the major dance works in the classical repertoire; newcomers to the genre can quickly pick up the basics from this generous collection. One can argue that Tchaikovsky should have been allotted greater space and that at least one of his ballets should have been presented in its entirety, rather than all three represented as suites and squeezed together on disc 1 to make room for Delibes' complete Coppélia. The Nutcracker, for example, could have fit nicely on a single CD, or an extra disc could have been provided to accommodate either a complete Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty.
In 2000, Britain's RCA Camden line mounted an extensive Harry Nilsson reissue campaign, remastering the original albums, offering bonus tracks, and combining the LPs into two-fers where possible. His first two records were issued as part of a double disc set, with the first disc devoted to the two original albums and the second containing his remixed, re-re-recorded consolidation of the two, Aerial Pandemonium Ballet, plus four unreleased tracks, all of high quality…
Igor Stravinsky The Complete Columbia Album Collection is an unprecedented reissue of the complete recordings of his works that Igor Stravinsky made for CBS/American Columbia, bringing together for the very first time on CD all of the mono "Stravinsky conducts Stravinsky" recordings issued in the 1940s and 1950s alongside the more familiar stereo remakes from the 1960s, as well as all the authorized performances that Stravinsky's assistant Robert Craft conducted for the label in the composer's presence, after age and infirmity had restricted his own ability to do so.
Don't be put off that this Nutcracker is played by the Utah Symphony. It is first class in every way in the glorious sound that Vanguard lavished on the orchestra.Maurice Abravanel was one of the most significant theater conducters of the 20th century. You can feel immediately that he grasps the balletic nature as well as the symphonic majesty of Tchaikovsky's score. The interpretation is brisk, light, nimble, well balanced and masterfully cohesive. Right from the beginning of the overture you will understand what I mean! The playing of the Utah Symphony is transparent, clean, and full of color. You can tell they enjoy playing it! I bought this recording years ago on Vanguard Everyman LPs. The CD transfer is excellent. Grab the it while you can still get it!