Berlin Philharmonic/Simon Rattle.
Pierre Noxious writes:
Ah, it's Christmas, so it must be old Piotr's Nutcracker.
There's a lot of interest in this because Sir Simon doesn't have any rep to speak of when it comes to Tchaikovsky. In fact, this is his first recording of the Russian master and he admits in the sleeve notes that he was never a fan.
But this always brings a smile to my face because, like everybody, I had to sit and watch it on the telly with the family after Christmas lunch when I was a kid.
One year we had a load of family round and my little cousin Lizzie was extremely excited about watching. She had a thing about the Sugar Plum Fairy - she was even dressed like her. Auntie Lulu had done a terrific job with a purple tutu and crepe paper.
So all morning - even while we were all opening presents - Lizzie was prancing around doing her fairy bit.
Then after lunch, during which it was all anyone could do to make Lizzie eat anything, we gathered round the telly to watch the damned Nutcracker (it had been on the stereo all bloody morning, of course).
Lizzie watching, enraptured... then when that tell-tale pizzicato started up she jumped and...
I mean, the most enormous sound you could ever imagine emanating from such a dainty little figure, and then some!
Cue uproarious laughter from a dozen kids and grown-ups. Dangerous hilarity, considering our stomachs were all full-to-bursting with the traditionals.
Lizzie thought it was hilarious too and got over-excited all over again. But she managed to caper around like her counterpart on the telly.
Of course, she's grown up and has her own little girl now - wonder if she'll bring her round dressed as a certain fairy this year.
I'll play this for her.