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Wanted Nutcracker Project Help

Discussion in 'Help Wanted' started by xmasfan95, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. xmasfan95

    xmasfan95 Twinkle Light Checker Merry Forums Member

    I'm not entirely sure if this is the right area of the forum to post this, so I've made a good educated guess, and if it turns out I guessed wrong, hopefully the mods here will help to move it into the right section.
    Okay, a little background is needed for this, so bear with me. Probably a long read ahead.

    I remember it like it was yesterday. It was back in 2002, when I was only five years old. It was late at night, and I was sitting in the big recliner, looking at the pictures in a big book that was filled with Christmas stories. It was from this very book that first heard the stories of "Scrooge," "The Shoemaker and the Elves," and many other stories.

    Ah, if only I could go back to the good old days, back when I was more innocent, and when Christmas felt so magical. Things lose a lot of their charm when you grow up, and I wish it didn't have to be that way. I love Christmas. Always have. But it was those good old days when I didn't see the bad side of snowstorms and icy roads, back when I loved to go outside and play in the snow everyday, back when I was obsessed with toys and games, that Christmas felt so much more magical. If I could change one thing about my life, it would be to bring back the charm of a happy childhood.

    It was on one of these days, very close to Christmas, that my Mom decided to stay up for a few hours and read some stories to me out of the book. I remember stories like, "The First Christmas Tree Lights," "The Story of Silent Night," "The Christmas Miracle," and "The Story of the Christmas Spiders." But the story I have the fondest memories of, the one that I first heard on that wonderful December night, was "The Nutcracker" by ETA Hoffmann.

    The story was an abridged version of the original novella, but it was a faithful version, and I absolutely loved it. Still do, in fact. It is one of my all time favorite Christmas stories, and Marie Stahlbaum is one of my favorite literary females. It was such a magical story about dreams becoming real, and looking beyond the outward appearance of a person. I've always wished that I could go on an adventure to Marzipan Castle on Christmas Eve night, just like Marie did, and I just have never forgotten about this story.

    Now, although I was initially disappointed with the ballet when I finally saw it a few years later (it doesn't have the same message or magical feel of the book), it has grown on me since then, and I do enjoy watching it every year. I especially enjoy the score. I'd go so far as to say that the score is the best thing about it. It captures the fell of the story, and I just can't get enough of it. I find myself listening to it year-round, and it defines Christmas music for me. Christmas would not be the same without it.

    I was thinking a few weeks ago that it would be fun for me to do a reading of the book that I will upload to YouTube for other people to listen to. In my opinion, the book is criminally underrated, and I thought that putting up a reading of it on YouTube might draw more attention to it.

    However, I also thought it would be fun to insert music from the ballet's score during my reading of it, in order to spice it up a bit, to make more than a generic reading of the book. Now, the events of the book are very different from the ballet, so the music won't match each scene one hundred percent. However, I still want to somehow manage to use the entire score, and place the music during scenes of the book that I think they fit best. I'm also fine with having tracks play more than once throughout the reading.

    My problem is that, even though the music is in the public domain, recording audio did not exist back when the music was written, and so it's very hard to find recordings of the music that are in the public domain. I am pushing forward with finding public domain recordings of every track, refusing to give up, because I'm sure that out out of the thousand-something people that record the score, there's got to be a few people that have made a recording specifically for the purpose of releasing it for people to use for free with no restrictions. So, my search continues after a few weeks.

    I have managed to find a website that claimed to have a public domain recording of the suite (I am not sure if this claim is legit, but website seemed to be trustworthy). However, there are a few problems with the tracks on there. First of all, whoever posted those tracks added some fade outs to the end of each of them, which ruins them, because the endings of them sound way better without them, and the fade outs make them jarring. I have managed to reduce the fade outs as much as possible with Audacity (as well as speeding up the tempo for the Arabian Dance, which went deathly slow in the track I downloaded) so that they are barely noticeable now, but they still feel a bit jarring. Also, I don't just want the suite, I want the full score. To indirectly quote an article I read once, going back to the suite after hearing the full score so many times is like going back to pan-and-scan versions of movies. So, I need help finding public domain recordings of the score. I was hoping some people could aid me in the search, so that I can have my audio reading done and uploaded by this upcoming Christmas.

    Here are some details:

    -Everyone is welcome to help me with this.
    -I have managed to find a public domain text of the original book on Project Gutenberg, so don't worry about finding that for me.
    -You are welcome to attempt to try and make your own recording of the score and send it to me. I will credit you for it.
    -I do not intend to find the track from Tchaicovsky's Sleeping Beauty that it used in some performances of The Nutcracker. However, if someone does find a public domain recording it, I might use it in my audio reading.
    -Don't worry about my preferences for the tempo in a musical track. If the track is in the public domain, I will change the tempo to my preferred speed using Audacity.
    -If anyone has any other suggestions for my audio reading, feel free to post them here. I am always interested in new ideas.
    Holiday likes this.
  2. MerryCarey

    MerryCarey A Voice from the North MMC Lifer MMC Donor Santa's Elf Christmas Crew Louann Jeffries Award Kringle Radio DJ

    Sounds like an ambitious project ... good luck with it!

    I don't have the links at my fingertips, but you might try Googling for websites that have downloadable recordings from wax cylinders and 78 rpm recordings. Those should be in the public domain---but be sure to check the website for any restrictions. Edison recordings should be in the public domain. You might check, but be aware that not everything there is PD.

    Another suggestion: Record a friend playing piano selections from the ballet. (Don't know, however, if this would run into problems related to the copyright on the arrangement used.)

    I read the original Hoffmann story once (not a children's version). Some weird, dark stuff in there, for sure! The ballet is a loose adaptation at best.
    xmasfan95 and Holiday like this.
  3. xmasfan95

    xmasfan95 Twinkle Light Checker Merry Forums Member

    Yeah, it is kind of dark and gritty, and the abridged version that Mom read to me wasn't toned down all that much. But I dug that kind of stuff as a kid. Early children's literature often contains dark and gritty elements. In the original "Wizard of Oz" story, the Tin Woodman beheads forty wolves and the Scarecrow strangles forty crows. And in the original "Peter Pan," Neverland has a strange surrealness to it. But these were the kinds of books I read all the time as a kid, and I loved them.
    Holiday likes this.
  4. MerryCarey

    MerryCarey A Voice from the North MMC Lifer MMC Donor Santa's Elf Christmas Crew Louann Jeffries Award Kringle Radio DJ

    Don't forget the original book of "Pinocchio," in which he kills the Cricket with a hammer in a fit of pique, and is hanged by robbers ... definitely not the Disney version!
    Holiday and xmasfan95 like this.
  5. xmasfan95

    xmasfan95 Twinkle Light Checker Merry Forums Member

    Yeah, that's a really weird one. It's packed with continuity errors also, and I'm under the impression that they were deliberate.
    Holiday likes this.
  6. MerryCarey

    MerryCarey A Voice from the North MMC Lifer MMC Donor Santa's Elf Christmas Crew Louann Jeffries Award Kringle Radio DJ

    They could have occurred because it was originally published in serial form. According to Wikipedia, "The first half was originally a serial in 1881 and 1882, published as La storia di un burattino (literally "The tale of a puppet"), and then later completed as a book for children in February 1883." (Funny, though, that an editor didn't straighten things out when it was published as a book.)

    (But this is getting off the original subject. Sorry. Me and my trivia ...)
    Holiday likes this.
  7. xmasfan95

    xmasfan95 Twinkle Light Checker Merry Forums Member

    I have now managed to find a public domain PDF of the sheet music. I am now hoping to find a some sort of program that will read the PDF somehow and convert it into a music file.
    Holiday likes this.

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