An excellent recording of Tchaikovsky's beautiful suites
John R. Blackburn Jr. | Santa Clara, CA USA | 02/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 2-CD set represents the finest recording of Tchaikovsky's four orchestral suites. The performance is rich and dynamic. The Philips engineers have done a wonderful job of digitally remastering the original 1967 recordings, and the sound quality is better than most recent full digital classical music. Tchaikovsky's smaller works (his solo pianos pieces, these four orchestral suites) have always been ignored and overshadowed by his more grandiose symphonies, ballets, and piano concertos. But to those who take the time to listen, one finds exquisite melodies and arrangements here. A marvelous package at a very reasonable price. Very highly recommended."
TchaikJP | Houston, TX United States | 12/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone who loves sheer beauty will appreciate these Suites. And Anyone who loves Tchaikovsky MUST have these Suites. They provide a more intimate expression of Tchaikovsky. Altogether less dramatic, but just as beautiful, imaginative and characteristic, they show how Tchaikovsky was an admirer of Sentimentality, Simple Beauty, Nostalgia, Reflection... ANY listener can enjoy these suites thoroughly, however, if you are true lover of Tchaikovksy- you will come to know him even deeper, and love these charming confections as often as you love on the grand Symphonies and Ballets. Tchaikovsky chose to compose these suites as a break from the pressures of symphonic form, and they are just that- a break- he had FUN writing them, and it shows every bar. The first suite is grand in concept, if it is maybe immature in execution. Still, no one can deny the beauty of the weaving melodies of the melancholy Andante, the dancing gaiety of the waltz, and the humor in the little march. The second suite is quite different, with its focus on children's music, and composing specifically with certain intruments in mind. The third suite has to be his masterpiece in the genre, and each movement is a wonderful entity. The theme and variations is one huge chuck of a study and great fun to listen to- Tchaikovsky, usually a harsh self-critic was even quite proud of this mvt.himself. Dorati's baton, with its penchant for creating lively dance music excellently suits this set. He brings to life what is dead to most people- the most intimate of Tchaikovsky, his "composed for fun" suites. Enjoy these for their wonderful beauty that seems to come with such ease."
Excellent Music. Excellent Interpretations.
John Marco | New York, NY United States | 07/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tchaikovsky is often considered a heart-on-sleeve Romantic, and he is. These four suites surely show him for that, but also for something more: a consummate master of his craft. Both qualities of the composer come through in the wonderful performances captured in this recording. Dorati shapes compelling interpretations, and the Philharmonia offers its usual superb playing. The Phillips engineers' work holds up very well after all these years. Here is a bargain music lovers should not pass up."
The lighter side of the Russian master
Newton Ooi | Phoenix, Arizona United States | 06/24/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"To many, Tchaikovsky is known as a composer of two types of music. First are his orchestral works like his six symphonies and numerous symphonic poems and concertos that are generally serious in tone and evoking themes ranging from traged to drama to melancholy. Second are his ballet music which are light and happy. But Tchaikovsky also composed these four orchestral suites; full-length orchestral works that are light in heart and fast in spirit. Generally unknown to all but the biggest fans of Russian classical music, they sound more in the Classical mold of Mozart and Haydn than the Russian Romance mold of Rubinstein, Glazunov, Borodin, and many of Tchaikovsky's more famous works. All four works are long, and are stand-alone pieces; not meant to accompany any visual display or stage act. All four works are also great listening. This 2-disc set is the only one I have encountered that has all four suites, and is a great buy for its price. The sound recording is also great."
Music Is Everything | Colorado Springs, CO USA | 08/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Where most composers (i.e., Brahms, Mendelssohn) composed sinfonias and suites as practice in preparation for writing mature symphonies, Tchiakovsky wrote the First Suite in D Minor, op. 43, AFTER his monumental Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, op. 36, and completed all four suites (including No. 4 "Mozartiana," op. 61) before composing his Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, op. 64. So, in the suites we find a mature Tchaikovsky, taking a break from the stresses of symphonic composition and writing to his heart's content. We're treated to fugues, themes and variations, dances in Baroque form, playful solos from the orchestra, and even an accordion in Suite No. 2. This complete set of the suites, recorded in 1967 with the New Philharmonia Orchestra under Antal Dorati, remains the standard of excellence for this rare Tchaikovsky. The playing is generally excellent and Dorati almost always searches for playful interpretations, with the possible exception of the fugue in the first movement of Suite No. 1, where the tempo seems a little stodgy. The analog-to-digital remastering is generally good, though a little hiss survives. The close mic-ing of that period often makes the brass sound harsh and neglects the reverberation of the concert hall. Nonetheless, this is a great set of recordings that all Tchaikovsky lovers can acquire without hesitation. And even if you're not a Tchaikovsky fan, these suites are worth a listen, as you're likely to hear a whole new side of Tchaikovsky you never imagined existed. Enjoy."