Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Nutcracker Suite for String Quartet, Op.71a
Tchaikovsky needs no biographical introduction. He compiled the music for his Nutcracker Suite in 1892 from his Ballet, The Nutcracker. The Suite consists of eight numbers, grouped in three movements: The first movement is the Ouverture miniature or Minature Overture. The second movement was called Danses caractéristiques in which there were six dances: Marche, Danse de la Fée Dragée (Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy), Danse russe. Trépak (Russian dance), Danse arabe (Arabian dance), Danse chinoise (Chinese dance) and Danse des mirlitons. Originally, a Spanish dance was included. The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy was originally entiled Dance of the Sweet Fairy and Dance of the Mirlitons (the mirliton is a nasal sounding instrument akin to a kazoo) was called Dance of the Reed Pipes. The finale movement is the famous Waltz of the Flowers.
The Suite was orchestrated and meant as a replacement for a symphonic poem he had written but discarded. It became immensely popular and has spawned dozens of arrangements, some for very unlikely combinations such as marimbas and trombones. Arrangers have not always included all of the dances since some are less suitable, depending on the arrangement than others. For many years, we have been asked to make available an arrangement for string quartet. In response to these requests, we now present it.