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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

The Nutcracker Performance That Requires No Ticket, No Mask

Peter Rubins (left) and Andrew Warfield (right) play their French horns in Brackenridge Park.
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Peter Rubins (left) and Andrew Warfield (right) play their French horns in Brackenridge Park.

Few pieces of music convey the holiday season more beautifully than The Nutcracker. Now a short Nutcracker video by a pair of San Antonio musicians might just help you break through your pandemic funk.

Peter Rubins and Andrew Warfield are French horn players and colleagues at the San Antonio Symphony.

They decided to record something to put people — and themselves — into the holiday mood.

“I thought almost on a whim really, The Nutcracker,” Rubins said.

So, he and Warfield went down by the San Antonio River, just outside the zoo, and played the piece and recorded it on an iPhone.

“We went down there and took some video footage of us playing near where the train station is, then we went back to our homes and recorded some more parts,” Rubins said.

He was going to merge all the pieces together in a computer, but this being 2020, nothing comes easy.

“During the time frame of making and editing this piece, my mother had passed. And so it became a little bit of a project to help me get through that time,” he said.

But now it’s done, and it’s very impressive. When Rubins plays the piece he said it takes him to decades past, playing it onstage, surrounded by others also making music. That experience can be highly emotional.

“Not only are the moments where you're in the middle of playing something and you get chills down your spine, and you're immersed and you're surrounded by these colleagues,” Rubins said. “And sometimes a tear will come to my eye and just you can be overwhelmed. So I kind of miss those opportunities.”

In lieu of being able to experience that, this new video is at least a refreshing taste of the holiday.

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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii