Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Richard Bonynge, National Philharmonic Orchestra|
Tchaikovsky: The 3 Ballets
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Superb performances of Tchaikovsky masterpieces.
D. R. Schryer | Poquoson, VA United States | 12/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tchaikovsky's three ballets may well be his finest works. Each is a masterpiece of melody, orchestration, and compelling atmosphere. Together they represent a body of music of such a level of genius as to be worthy to stand with such other great collections as Beethoven's symphonies and Chopin's piano music. The performances of these ballets by Richard Bonynge and the National Philharmonic Orchestra (an all-star London recording group) are simply superb. If you like music from the height of the Romantic era -- or simply great music, regardless of era -- treat yourself to this outstanding set."
A note for collectors who only want the Swan Lake.
JPH | Crawley | 10/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the Double-Decca issue of Swan Lake, the danse des coupes in Swan Lake has been cunningly abridged to free up space for the accomodation of the unnumbered Russian dance in Act III. So while all the numbers are included in that double-disc set, making it "officially" complete, score-wise it actually isn't!What this means is that if you to wish to have Bonynge's Swan Lake absolutely complete you will have to buy THIS 6-disc set, and not that abridged Double-Decca issue. This is important, especially if the danse des coupes is one of your favorite pieces."
FIT FOR PURPOSE
DAVID BRYSON | Glossop Derbyshire England | 02/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Everything, or nearly everything, is basically right with this set. The direction shows insight, the playing is of a high quality, the balance between vigour and languor is tipped slightly in favour of vigour and I believe that to be the right balance, and the recorded quality from the mid-70's is still quite acceptable to my ears. Moreover the set purports to be absolutely complete, with a couple of later additions included in Swan Lake as well as the Sleeping Beauty given uncut, something I am told is unusual. As a very welcome bonus the liner note is distinctly above average for its informative and lucid content, although it would have been nice to know who actually wrote the material to start with and not just who translated it into German and French. All that is missing, at least in Swan Lake and the Sleeping Beauty, is a certain aura, the sense of magic that should surround this music of all music.
That is the executive summary, so to speak. That's what the rest of this notice will boil down to, but if you would like a little amplification of the conclusion let me suggest the following. Bonynge's approach suits the Nutcracker best. That in turn suits me, because the Nutcracker is my favourite of the three ballets, and I also believe it to contain the best music of the three, which I hope is a different proposition and not just another way of saying the same thing. From all the 150 or so numbers on these 6 discs my outright top favourite is the Pas de Deux for the Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Did any composer ever get so much melody out of a simple descending scale? This is given everything I would wish for it - heart and soul, passion and commitment. In fact the Nutcracker comes somewhere near my ideal in general, even the recording (the earliest of the three) is probably the best, and the orchestral playing is definitely, not probably, the best too. Particularly in Swan Lake, but to some extent in the Sleeping Beauty too, there is a hint of coarseness, or to use a more neutral term `extroversion', to the trumpet or cornet solos, and when I am in my pernickety moods I like all the timpani rolls played evenly, not just some of them.
Overall, it is just a little more straightforward than I might have preferred. I agree emphatically that continuity and forward momentum must not be sacrificed to any kind of `expressiveness', and Bonynge gets that much right. Moreover the `ballroom' dances - the n waltzes, the gavottes, foxtrots and whatnot - have a real foot-tapping sense to them, and that is as it should be. Not just that, many of the more tender and mysterious sequences, such as the entr'acte for Aurora's long sleep and indeed the familiar `duckpond' stuff from Swan Lake, are beautifully done. I'm trying to keep this matter in some proper perspective and proportion - this is a very sound set of performances, and better than just `sound' in important respects. It has quality, and my guess is that it will wear well. It's just not, let's say, Beecham.
Why would most music-lovers buy a set like this - 6 discs with every last note of Tchaikovsky's ballets among them? At a guess, for much the same reason that I bought it. This is going to be high-quality, comfortable background music down the years, and very reasonably priced at that. Minutiae of playing, interpretation, expression, recorded sound and all the rest of it will recede into unimportance. I am not going to be troubled, or even visited, by the thought that Boulez can bring more of the magic I crave to the Rite of Spring than I find brought to more obvious candidates for the magic treatment here. All of this long set is perfectly fit for purpose, and Der Nussknacker is more than just that."