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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker - Complete Ballet Arranged for Solo Piano / Stewart Goodyear

Release Date: 10/09/2015
Label: Steinway & Sons Catalog #: 30040 Spars Code: n/a
Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Performer:  Stewart Goodyear Number of Discs: 1
Recorded in: Multi Length: 1 Hours 22 Mins.

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

"As a youngster in Toronto, the pianist Stewart Goodyear loved listening to Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” over and over. Also a composer, Mr. Goodyear channeled his love for the work into his own elaborate, detailed and utterly captivating arrangement for solo piano, which he plays magnificently on this new recording. Like Liszt, a master at transcribing symphonic music for the piano, Mr. Goodyear honors Tchaikovsky’s music through his ingenious arrangement. Without its colorful orchestral enrichments, the score comes through here with stunning freshness and detail, thanks to the elegant, impressively articulate playing."
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-- Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

"Ten Fingers, One Nutcracker. Pianist Stewart Goodyear’s piano transcription of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker is so high spirited and idiomatically pianistic it might make you forget about the orchestral version. OK, an exaggeration, but only a slight one. Goodyear takes on the full ballet, and the slimming down of voices and colors has the effect of making unexpected connections. An especially compelling sequence: the way he evokes the chimes of midnight, and the tree-growing music that follows — a big moment for the orchestra, but here it does not want for rapture."

-- Peter Dobrin, Philadelphia Inquirer [10/25/2015]

"Stewart Goodyear's piano arrangement of the complete ballet is a fascinating example of the art of transcription, and the pianist deserves credit not only for his ingenious handling of Tchaikovsky's orchestration in terms of the keyboard's sonorities, but also for playing with close attention to details and tone colors that give the music its fantastic character. This Steinway & Sons recording is certainly a delight for its energy and brilliance, and fans of piano music will appreciate Goodyear's cleverness in adapting such perennial favorites as the Overture, the March, the Divertissements, and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, which are familiar as the Nutcracker Suite."

-- AllMusic Guide

"Another piece that harkens back to my formative years is Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker although my exposure, like that of so many others I’m sure, was just to the eight-movement Suite Op.71a. My introduction was on a 3-LP Seraphim set of suites from the ballets Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra under Efrem Kurtz. No wonder then that so many of the 24 tracks on Stewart Goodyear’s transcription for solo piano of the entire ballet (Steinway & Sons 30040) seem unfamiliar. Somehow we missed this disc, recorded in February 2015, when it came out. Since then two Christmases, the traditional Nutcracker time, have come and gone. Rather than wait another year I want to tell you about this new approach to what is indeed a timeless classic. In the words of the performer/arranger 'You can look at The Nutcracker as the Walt Disney of music. It enchants on the same levels as Disney does: there’s the humour; for some, there’s the love story; for some, adventure. All those aspects are there: it’s like listening to Technicolor, listening to animation.' You would be forgiven for thinking that Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous orchestration which incorporates so many colours into its palette might suffer in translation to a single instrument, and for that matter a single performer. But I’m here to tell you that Goodyear’s thoughtful treatment and virtuosic flamboyance give the lie to this. “I’m just trying to create as faithful an arrangement as possible” says Goodyear, “with all of the orchestral elements there – the woodwinds, the brass, so it doesn’t feel like the audience is missing anything – it’s all there.” I would have to say that he succeeds. And when I said just a single instrument, I will note that there is one exception to this: At the outset of the pitched battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King we are momentarily startled by the sharp crack of a slapstick which announces the Keystone Kops-like action sequence. All in all, this is an outstanding and exhilarating achievement and I’m sorry it took so long to come to my attention."

-- David Olds, The Whole Note

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Proclaimed "a phenomenon" by the Los Angeles Times and "one of the best pianists of his generation" by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Stewart Goodyear is an accomplished young pianist as a concerto soloist, chamber musician, recitalist and composer.

In March 2015, Stewart played all 32 Beethoven sonatas in recital, in a single day, in Dallas TX.

Mr. Goodyear's recording of Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto and Grieg's Piano Concerto, with the Czech National Symphony under Stanislav Bogunia, was released to critical acclaim on the Steinway and Sons label in June 2014.

For his third Steinway & Sons label release, the Canadian, by way of Toronto, pianist returns to the music of Tchaikovsky, only this time with a world premiere recording, of the complete Nutcracker ballet arranged for and recorded on solo piano.

"A high-octane performance that punches above its weight." Gramophone Magazine on Tchaikovsky & Grieg Concertos (STNS 30035)

"Exultantly phrased, expertly articulated and expansively engineered first-rate BBC Music Magazine on Rachmaninov Concertos 2 & 3." (STNS 30047)


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