During the holiday season, my go to is Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. I don’t know the last time I played it and wasn’t in a better mood by the end.
The suite encompasses several movements (numbering differs by outlet). I enjoy the whole thing, but my favorite of these movements is the four parts that make up what is referred to during a ballet performance of the play as the Divertissement.
In the story, after Clara saves the Nutcracker Prince from the Rat King, the Prince takes her to the Land of Sweets where she is showered with gifts from around the world by the land’s grateful people for saving its long lost leader. These four gifts are represented by the four parts/dances of the Divertissement: Spain (chocolate), Arabia (coffee), China (tea), and Russia (candy canes).
Out of these four movements, I would guess that the Trepak (Russian dance; above) is the most popular. It’s commonly used as a demonstration of traditional Russian dance. I enjoy this one, however, my overall favorite part of the Divertissement is the Arabian dance (below). I love the general feel of the song, especially the flutes and the strings (of course).
It might also be a carryover from my performing days in school. The only part I’ve played in a Nutcracker play was in the Waltz of the Flowers, but I always held a soft spot for the Arabian dance.