For the Love of Music
April 3, 2018
The Women in the Castle
April 24, 2018

Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite

Book Rating



This is the number of stars given out of a five-star rating system.


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Author: Anna Harwell Celenza
Key Words: Children, Music, Composers, Christmas, Holidays

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Book Description:

It's a challenge to transform the "Nutcracker Suite's" romantic orchestra into jumpin' jazz melodies, but that's exactly what Duke Ellington and his collaborator, Billy Strayhorn, did.

Ellington's band members were not so sure that a classical ballet could become a cool-cat jazz number. But Duke and Billy, inspired by their travels and by musical styles past and present, infused the composition with Vegas glitz, Hollywood glamour, and even a little New York jazz.

Reviewers Thoughts

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book tells in story-form how Duke Ellington was inspired to take Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and write it for Jazz. Writing it was easy, it was finished in less than three months, but convincing the musicians of the idea was another matter. Here's how Duke was able to do it.

An interesting story and I loved the CD (which has the entire Suite). A book for your older kids.

Star Rating System

5 = Loved It, 4 = Really Liked It, 3 = Liked It, 2 = It's Okay, 1 = Didn't Like It.

Book Details

Cleanliness: to inspire the musicians to interpret the music correctly, Billy said "show us how Cherry swings her hips." There is a picture of this but it is not suggestive.

Ages: 6 - 12

Grade Level: 2nd - 6th

Pages: 32

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