Ray, I found this on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia....Grossvater_Tanz
"The Grossvater Tanz (Grandfather's Dance) is a German dance tune from the 17th century. It is generally considered a traditional folk tune. Its real author has been claimed to be Carl Gottlieb Hering (de) (17661853), but this attribution seems not to be generally supported."
Robert Schumann quoted the Grossvater Tanz in two works:
- the final section of Papillons, Op. 2 (1831)
- the final section ("Marche des Davidsbündler contre les Philistins") of Carnaval, Op. 9 (183435), where he labels the theme "Thème du XVIIème siècle" (Theme from the 17th century).
"Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky also quotes the tune in act 1 of his ballet The Nutcracker (1892). It appears at the end of the Christmas party. Tchaikovsky was a great admirer of Schumann's music, but it is not clear whether this was meant as some sort of tribute to Schumann or simply as an appropriate tune to use in music depicting the winding up of a happy family event.".
With which I have quoted practically half the article.
It does work nicely as a plot device... So perhaps it was a little of both... Something appropriate that easily came to mind because of Tchaikovsky's fondness of Schuman. Somewhere I read the ballet was composed under a flood of childhood memories of his sister whose death he belatedly learned of while he was abroad... Not sure where I got that info and my memory is mutable. Will see if google can help.... Yes, it appears that I did not make that bit up... But with my brief review, I find no particular source worth quoting here. I have wondered how a Russian's childhood memories would serve fir a German christmas, but as a child he had a "French nanny" he was very close to, French, but with the name Fanny Dürbach, who taught him fluency in German as well as French. Doesn't look like a French name to me. She was from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montbéliard
. This is an interesting site: http://wiki.tchaikov.../wiki/Main_Page