Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Nutcracker Review

Maestro Classics Review

We received The Nutcracker from Maestro Classics to review. It is a classical music CD with an activity booklet. The music is conducted by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the music is by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, adapted and conducted by Stephen Simon, and narrated by Jim Weiss.

Maestro Classics Review
CD $16.98 MP3 $9.98

The Nutcracker CD has 21 tracks. It covers the whole story, from the Christmas Party to the Land of Sweets and the Sugar Plum Fairy. It lasts 58 minutes and is sure to make it on the music list for a Christmas party!

The Nutcracker is a classic. It has always been one of my favorite holiday stories and the music is timeless. The Nutcracker Prince was always on our Christmas movie marathon list (it's available on Youtube). The Nutcracker story book is one of the books included in our 24 Days of Christmas book list. This year, in addition to reading the story, we'll be able to listen to the music. 
If your kids love to be creative and want to put on a play, you can let them use the booklet to follow the acts and act out the scenes of the story with the music in the background. Or you can watch The Nutcracker ballet performance. My kids opted to dig out their collection of Nutcrackers from our box of Christmas decorations, found a couple toys to replace the other characters, and tried to play out the story. 
The booklet also has other information and activities to offer, such as a history on ballet, music from the Overture to The Nutcracker, information on harps and Tchaikovsky, a word scramble activity, and a crossword puzzle. From the Maestro Classics website you can download the curriculum guide to The Nutcracker, which covers ballet, history, geography, science, language arts, art, music, and math. You can create a whole mini-unit on The Nutcracker using the curriculum guide. The website doesn't offer music sheets for The Nutcracker, but they may be able to get them if you email them. If not, there are plenty of sheet music available online. 

Maestro Classics offers the following Stories in Music:
Peter and the Wolf
The Nutcracker
The Story of Swan Lake
Carnival of the Animals
My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel
The Tortoise and the Hare
Merry Pranks of Master Till
Casey at the Bat
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
The Soldier's Tale
Juanita la langosta Española (Juanita the Spanish Lobster)

Maestro Classics offers a 12 CD collection at a discounted price. We would love to someday own the whole collection! There is music for everyone, whether you're a fan of ballet or the stories, and if you aren't sure which you want to start off with, each one has a sample of the music on the website.

We have always really enjoyed Maestro Classics CDs. They are a wonderful way to incorporate music into our homeschool lessons. We enjoyed listening to The Nutcracker and we look forward to bringing it back out during the month of December to help us celebrate Christmas.

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