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Tchaikovsky: Hamlet Op. 67a; Romeo and Juliet [Hybrid SACD]
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Vladimir Jurowski, Russian National Orchestra
Tchaikovsky: Hamlet Op. 67a; Romeo and Juliet [Hybrid SACD]
Genre: Classical
 
Maxim Mikhailov, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Vladimir Jurowski, and Russian National Orchestra, Tchaikovsky: Hamlet Op. 67a; Romeo and Juliet

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Vladimir Jurowski, Russian National Orchestra, Tatiana Monogarova
Title: Tchaikovsky: Hamlet Op. 67a; Romeo and Juliet [Hybrid SACD]
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Pentatone
Original Release Date: 1/1/2008
Re-Release Date: 10/28/2008
Album Type: Hybrid SACD - DSD
Genre: Classical
Style: Symphonies
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 827949033063

Synopsis

Album Description
Maxim Mikhailov, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Vladimir Jurowski, and Russian National Orchestra, Tchaikovsky: Hamlet Op. 67a; Romeo and Juliet
 

CD Reviews

It's fascinating to meet Tchaikovsky's first thoughts, but t
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 02/24/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Maybe Amazon edited its review, but the point of this CD isn't merely the original version of Romeo and Juliet. Far more substantial is the incidental music to Hamlet. As with Mendelssohn and A Midsummer Night's Dream, Tchaikovsky wrote musical fillers and scene-changes to accompany a stage production of the play in 1891, which he then converted three years later into a "fantasy-overture," or tone poem, that was never to find much success outside Russia.

Previous to its symphonic guise, these small portraits are not compelling, however. Ophelia gets more attention and is even voiced by a mezzo, as is the Gravedigger by a baritone. She sounds like a French chanteuse; his tune is a twin to Deck the Halls. If only PentaTonne had interspersed Tchaikovsky's music with Shakespeare's words (as is frequently done with extended performances of Mendelssohn's incidental music). Hamlet in its tone poem version sounds blowzy, a bit banal, and over-extended, even in the riveting accounts given by Stokowski (Everest) and Bernstein (Sony). I can't claim that Tchaikovsky wrote a masterpiece the first time around, but the format is more convincing, beginning with a 9 min. Overture that prefigures the play, followed by separate numbers as events unfold.

In scope, Tchaikovsky proves more modest than Mendelssohn, who gave us music of such genius that it hardly qualifies as incidental. Most of the items here are too brief and ephemeral -- the music for the first appearance of the Ghost (a role that tradition says was taken by Shakespeare himself) lasts only a minute, for example, and the fanfare that introduces the court at Elsinore barely 20 seconds. Hamlet's father takes 40 sec. to materialize before his eyes, but then a longer excerpt, nearly 4 min., accompanies the reteling of the story of his father's murder -- in disconcertingly jaunty manner. There's no doubt that Tcahikovsky didn't become fully immersed in his subject until he came to write the tone poem. These are often only seeds of bigger ideas.

In keeping with his relative casualness, the composer borrows music from Sym. #3, the "Polish," to bring Ophelia on stage. It's a beautiful melody, though, which tends, I'm afraid, to point out the ordinariness of its musical surroundings. Sibelius's incidental music to The Tempest is similarly functional, with brief flashes of inspiration. Shostakovich's film score to Hamlet is far more sombr, tragic, and ambitious. I was most taken with the Entr'acte to Act V, which at 7 min. is alsos the most ambitious item. It's balletic and could easily be one of Prince Siegfried's more reflective scenes in Swan Lake. The ending of the play is a fizzle, however, a nondescript brass flourish to bring on Fortinbras.

As for the first version of Roomeo and Juliet from 1869, it deserves a listen to catch the famous tunes, but in terms of intensity, organization, and build, it's quite inferior. There's a somber, rather pallid introduciton with some new music, referring, I believe, to Friar Laurence; it returns as the basis for a new ending. In between, a handful of much-loved melodies are tossed about agreeably, but with less than half the dramatic force of the familiar revised version.

To my ears, Jurowski sounds rahter cautious, particularly in Romeo and Juliet, but perhaps Tchaikovsky's expression marks and dynamics are reduced. The orchestra and recorded sound are exemplary.

"
As good as new.
A. F. S. Mui | HK | 07/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am not particularly drawn to comparing scores, but rather choose to listen to music as performed, unless the new arrangements are totally not in sync with the usual stuff.
The choice by Vladimir Jurowski of an earlier version (or original?) of these works in no way hampers my enjoyment of the performances.
THe two works are stylishly performed, and the soprano is a really good one - from Russia? Alas, there are quite a number of good sopranos there, not just Anna Netrebko!
If only one thing - Vladimir Jurowski's Tchaikovsky is more refined and reserved than usual. If you don't like this style, it may be a cause for complain. Not with me, though.
5 stars."