The celesta, an instrument invented in 1896, gets its name for its “celestial,” tinkling sound. It provides the distinctive music that accompanies the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. NPR’s Bob Edwards discusses the instrument with Morning Edition music commentator Miles Hoffman, and Lambert Orkis of the National Symphony plays some celesta riffs.
Tchaikovsky sent a letter to his publisher saying “order one of these, but don’t tell any other composers about it because they’ll still the sound first!”
Well… thank you Victor and Auguste Mustel.