Thursday, January 13, 2011
Visions of sugar plums
Enter the prima ballerina of The Nutcracker ballet--the Sugar Plum Fairy! She rules over the Land of Sweets, to which Clara and her nutcracker-turned-prince travel in Act II.
Composer Peter Tchaikovsky traveled extensively in the months preceding the debut of The Nutcracker in 1891, making a guest appearance at Carnegie Hall in New York City before continuing on to Paris. It was in the French capitol that he first heard a new instrument--the celesta--that had been introduced there in 1886.
This keyboard instrument, which resembles an upright piano in appearance but has the tinkling sound of a harpsichord, intrigued Tchaikovsky. He was able to transport a celesta to Moscow, without the knowledge of his rival composer Rimsky-Korsakov, and made the instrument's distinctive sound the focal point of the music for the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
I've posed my ballerina en pointe, extended in an arabesque, and intend to stitch her so she looks as sweet as possible!