Zwei Tanze aus der “Nussknacker-Suite” op71a
Two Dances of the “Nutcracker Suite”
by P. Tschaikowsky
Edited by Doris Geller
for 4 flutes
- Tanz der Rohrpfeifen (Dance of the Reed Flutes)
- Tanz der Zuckerfee (Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy)
Certainly, almost everyone carries around some of the msot charming melodies from Tschaikovsky's ballet suite “The Nutcracker” in their hands, as this orchestra piece is so widely known that can almost be considered a popular piece of music. As a more demanding work of entertainment music, it is part of the standard repertoire of our orcehstras and can consequently be heard quite frequently.
Of course, 4 flutes cannot replace a whole symphonic orchestra, so that only those two movements from the suite which have more of a chamber music instrumentation could be used for this arrangement.
Anyway, the Dance of the Reed Pipes is dominated by 3 flutes which play parallel chords. The pizzicato accompaniment of the strings is of such a transparency that the 4th flute is almost sufficient to take over this part, without disturming the tonal balance. Contrary to this dance, the key of which -D major- is quite appropriate for 4 flutes, the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy had to be transposed from e minor to d minor to meet the tonal range of the flutes. In the originall, the Dance of the Sugar Fairy is played mainly by the celesta and the plucked string instruments, which endows this piece, in combination with several chromatic melody phrases and the linking of the chords, with an extraordinary, almost esoteric sound character. Without difficulty, the high register of the instruments and the transparency of the movememnt allow for this isntrumentation with 4 flutes.