Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Alexey Markov, Thomas Gerdom, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky|
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture; Moscow Cantata; Slavonic March
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
Great composer's nationalist hits in variable sound
G. Bell | San Francisco | 11/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I bought it and am keeping it. The reason to buy is the Moscow Cantata, written for the tsar's coronation so Tchaikovsky would have been aching to please. He does. The man could write beautiful melody for the voice and back it up with stirring choruses. Moscow has guts and beauty, all designed to instil nationalist pride in the Tsar, city and country. Give the preview snipets a listen and see what you think. You don't need to read the translation to enjoy it. Cold Warriors may not want to. There is no other recording that I know of. A cantata is mini opera and who would not rejoice to have another Tchaikovsky opera? New Yorkers moon about Manhattan, French swoon for Paris, so Russian hearts beat faster for Moscow. Musically, good stuff.
The other parts of the disk, I could do without. Better March Slaves and 1812 Overtures (huge crowd pleasers everywhere I have heard them performed)are elsewhere. Try Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony on London or, my favorite, Dorati and the Minneapolis Symphony on Mercury. 1812 here feels rushed, orchestra out of balanced, with no internal drive. The others are fine but, for the good wallow I want real cannon. None here.
Complaint about Mariinsky sound, there is great variation and an imbalace of instruments that makes portions sound like clumsy thumping. No real bloom just a congestion that comes and goes, even in SACD. New hall and the engineers have not gotten the best from the redo/mic placement? Moscow comes off best.
Second-rate rarities in civilized readings
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 10/22/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If the rarities on this new CD from Gergiev and his inspiring Mariinsky forces was also inspiring, you'd know them already. I doubt that anyone but completists would buy Tchaikovsky's obscure Moscow Cantata on its own, but it occupies the bulk of the program. Beethoven was immensely fortunate to attract the attention of music-loving princes and archdukes in Vienna. In a smaller way Tchaikovsky benefited from the admiration of an emperor, Czar Alexander III, who commissioned two works for his coronation in 1883 -- the cantata and a Coronation March. Both are included here, along with an earlier and even more obscure commission, a Festival Overture to celebrate Alexander's marriage to his dead brother's fiancee -- apparently fulfilling a deathbed promise or something on that order --twenty years before. The fact that the overture was based on the Danish national anthem was due to the bride coming from Denmark.
This background wouldn't be all that interesting if the music in question were first rate, and since the cantata at best is stirring and at worse workaday, one listen was enough for me. The tone is similar to a religious cantata, with vocal solos alternating with choruses. (Since my copy was a download, I have nothing to say about the text.) The rousingly banal Coronation March is about the same quality as the march Wagner wrote for the American centennial. As pleasant things go, it's the early Festival Over. that's the pleasantest here; it's reminiscent of Tchaikovsky's early symphonies in its springy, balletic spirit.
So will the two chestnuts on offer, the 1812 Over. and Marche Slav, attract an audience. Anyone looking for a rip-snorter will be sorely disappointed. Gergiev presents ultra-respectable readings without flash or gimmicks (no cannons on the premises). I'll settle for Stokowski pulling out all the stops. In sum, this collection affords half an hour of unheard Tchaikovsky, and if that's your sole criterion, the project is beautifuly done."