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Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites / Karajan
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Herbert von Karajan, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites / Karajan
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Herbert von Karajan, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Title: Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites / Karajan
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: Decca
Release Date: 8/10/1999
Genre: Classical
Styles: Historical Periods, Modern, 20th, & 21st Century, Symphonies
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 028946637920

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CD Reviews

Ballet's Brilliant Excerpts/Karajan Collectors Must Have
Rudy Avila | 07/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Fans of Karajan would be delighted to have this cd on their collection. Herbert Von Karajan, praiseworthy German conductor of the WWII era, conducts the three suites for Tchaikovsky's ballets- Swan Lake, Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky is most famous for these ballets, although he was an exceedingly prolific composer of opera, symphonies, overtures and works for piano. He was the most romantic of the Romantic Era composers, a passionate Russian music-maker who was influenced by Western classical form and mixed his own Russian fire. Tchaikovsky's music is not always easy to conduct or interpret. There have been very few conductors who even come close to interpreting his music the way Tchaikovsky would have accepted. I regret to say Herbert Von Karajan, for all his great quality as conductor, fails to interpret Tchaikovsky's music the way Tchaikovsky would have conducted in his hey-day. Nevertheless, Karajan conducts a highly impressive concert suite form. The chronological arrangement is wrong- Swan Lake was Tchaikovsky's first ballet (1877) but it was followed by Sleeping Beauty (1881) and his last was The Nutcracker in 1891. The arrangement on this cd is Swan Lake, Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. After Tchaikovsky's ballets were all standard repertoire in Imperial Russian theaters, Tchaikovsky arranged three concert suites to conduct so as to entice non-Russian, foreign or American audiences to come see his new ballets. Upon listening to them, one is breathtaken and compelled to see all three of his ballets. Karajan's interpretation of the Act 2 "Scene of the Swans", which is the main theme, is incredibly orchestrated, rich, boisterious and darkly romantic. This same theme is repeated for the finale. The Waltz is well-done, though less danceable than I am used to hearing, and the Czardas, in particular is lovely. Though Karajan does not provide a Russian feel to it, he does embellish Tchaikovsky with the Western elegant and symphonic touch. The Nutcracker is the best on here. It is precise, thrilling and lush. Just listen to the Waltz Of The Flowers and the Overture. Lastly, Sleeping Beauty has only the Rose Adagio and Waltz as its finer moments, the rest are mere concert/symphonic treatment..for instance, the Panorama is too slow for a ballet.I will conclude by encouraging ballet and Tchaikovsky lovers to get the following cd's- all available at these are the following (and all by the same conductor Antal Dorati): Swan Lake Complete Ballet/Antal Dorati and the Minneapolis Symphony, Sleeping Beauty/Antal Dorati and the Royal Concertgebeow Orchestra and The Nutcracker (also comes with Serenade For Strings) Antal Dorati. Dorati is the best interpretor of anything Tchaikovsky, he provides the precise, yet sentimental, romantic and artistic Russian flavor. If you can't get into Dorati's perfectionist take on Tchaikovsky, then get Igor Markevitch as conductor, Eugene Ormandy, and to lesser extents- Karajan conducting, Seiji Ozawa conducting and conductor Andrew Mogrelia."
Choosing between Karajan and Karajan
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"All three suites were recorded twice by Karajan between 1961 and 1971. These Decca recordings with the Vienna Phil. came first and are in detailed, warm sound of high quality. After them came the DG set with the Berlin Phil. in more distant sound with wide stereo separation. The two versions are equally virtuosic, though the Vienna playing is softer, more lush while the Berlin is more pointed.

As to interpretation, Karajan is definitely symphonic in both versions. He doesn't aim for recreating the feeling of ballet in the theater, and for some listeners his concdert hall manner may be too grand. But if you like this approach, it's hard to imagine any better interpretations--Karajan was a devoted and very fine Tchaikovsky conductor, surpassed only by the great Russian Evgeny Mravinsky and perhaps, on occasion, some of his countrymen. But no Russian conductor to my mind has come close to these readings for refinement and orchestral virtuosity."
An Intro To Ballet From A Master Conductor
Rudy Avila | Lennox, Ca United States | 06/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This album, digitally remastered from the original 1965 Long Playing record, is a terrific way to get you into ballet. This is not ballet music meant for dancing. It's incomplete, tidbits and designed for a concert suite. Herbert Von Karajan delivers his magic as conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic. Tchaikovsky wrote suites from his ballets, in efforts to promote people to see the actual ballets. Karajan is not the firs person people think of as conductor of Tchaikovsky's music. Karajan is not at all suited for the Russian flavor and romanticism of Tchaikovsky's profoundly emotional pieces. Karajan, considered the greatest conductor of the 20th century, was mostly at home with the traditional symphonies -Beethoven, Mahler, Brahms, Berlioz, Bruckner and opears- Wagner, Mozart, Puccini, etc. But this is a great way to get hooked into ballet, particularily those of Tchaikovsky.The orchestral grandeur of this concert suite shines through. The Swan Lake main theme was borrowed from Wagner's swan motif in his opera Lohengrin. The Waltz is lilting and delightful but here it sounds more like a waltz movement from a Romantic program symphony. The dynamics of the Russian Dance are distinctively Russian, the Arabian Dance is a Middle Eastern nocturne of seductive spirit, the Waltz of the Flowers a sweeping ballroom waltz. The Sleeping Beauty highlights include the Prologue, with its "Curse" theme and villain' signature as well as the Lilac Fairy's romantic theme of hope. The Rose Adagio or Pas D'Action is a miracle of strength and beauty, the orchestra taking on a romantic spectacle of epic proportions that concludes with a glorious climax. This is a great album and don't be fooled by Karajan's presence. He conducts a fine concert suite version of the ballets. But for the actual ballets you can never go wrong with Antal Dorati conducting."