Among the colorful divertissement miniatures of the second act of the ballet, "Waltz of the Flowers" and "Pas de deux" stand out for their monumentality. Excellent examples of Tchaikovsky's great symphonic dance! Their tremendous emotionality clearly does not fit within the plot and "overwhelms" the listener like a stormy stream. According to the content of the ballet "The Nutcracker", when the evil witchcraft was destroyed and the clumsy doll turned into a beautiful youth, the prince and Marie (in some productions it was Clara) went to the fairy kingdom. There, in the magical city of Confiturenburg, a luxurious celebration with dancing is arranged for the arriving guests. Happy Marie (Clara) and the prince sat down on the meadow, which was suddenly covered with beautiful flowers. It was then, approximately in the middle of the second act, that the enchanting music of the "Waltz of the Flowers" sounds.
The "Waltz of the Flowers" is the pinnacle of the Nutcracker's festive divertissement. The waltz begins with an introduction with a great virtuoso harp cadence. The theme is assigned to three French horns, their soft, deep sounding enchants from the very first notes. The waltz movement at the beginning is calm, measured, but throughout the play the theme is transformed into a solemn, almost ecstatic, step by step gaining the powerful energy of a festive big brilliant waltz that swirls us in a whirlwind! This is a real musical feast. Even outside the theater stage, you can clearly "see" everything that happens in the music, so visibly the waltz penetrates the mind. It is impossible not to get carried away, not to respond to the three-beat dance meter capturing the whole being of the listener, to the colorful orchestration, to the roll call of different groups of instruments, to the final passages, it is impossible not to emotionally react to the more and more accelerating pace! In the middle of the piece, the cellos have a more pathetic-lyrical, minor theme, shading the all-consuming light in D major, the main tonality. But the minor deviation is only a short episode, all the main themes of the waltz are major. And in the code, when the music shines with all the colors of a large symphony orchestra, the state of delight reaches its limit.
The "Waltz of the Flowers" also exists in arrangements for various compositions, including solo piano. The masterly transcription of the Australian pianist and composer Percy Granger is well-known; there are also simpler versions of the presentation. I had the opportunity to perform and record on disk this grandiose, magnificent piece, arranged by the young Russian pianist VyacheslavGryaznov. And I must say that there are few transpositions in my repertoire that are so difficult to perform on our instrument. If you do not make technical compromises and adhere to the orchestral tempo, then the performer is faced with extremely difficult tasks. This is not just virtuoso music; here it is required to create the same multifaceted, multi-layered texture, as is written out in the orchestral presentation, all themes and their accompaniment should not merge in sound with each other, and it is also necessary that the timbres of different instruments would be recognizable even when played on the piano. It was the most difficult work, but also rewarding - after all, the effect of this great music did not disappear even when it was performed not by a whole symphony orchestra of 120 people, but by just one pianist. And the audience rewarded this stunning music with warm applause, which invariably accompany the beloved the "Waltz of the Flowers", in whatever version and on whatever stage it may sound.