A Beautiful Disc - Essential Tchaikovsky
D. A Wend | Buffalo Grove, IL USA | 08/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tchaikovsky's Second Suite was written in 1884 when the opera Mazeppa was composed and was dedicated to his sister-in-law (who had married his brother Anatoly). The composer was visiting his brother when he composed the suite and he is said to have used a cipher to include the names of his brother, his wife and their children in the first movement called "Play of Sounds". The suite is in five movements and contains some of Tchaikovsky's most melodious music which certainly deserves to be better known. The second movement is a captivating waltz and the third an energetic scherzo. The fourth movement is a beautiful andante titled Reves d'enfant, harkening back to the domestic atmosphere of his brother's home and depicting the adventurous dreams of the children. The final movement is a dance cast in a baroque style and reminded me of the ballet music of Sleeping Beauty.
The Tempest is an early work and was suggested to Tchaikovsky by Balakirev; it was composed in 1873 and was well received on its premiere. It is an atmospheric depiction of the play by Shakespeare. The music begins by depicting the sea moving into the action of the play where Prospero raises the storm that will ship wreck his enemies on his island. The is a nice love music episode for Miranda and Ferdinand that is not as well known as the famous sequence from Romeo and Juliet but just as effective and passionate. The orchestra is brought to a climax as Prospero relinquishes magic and we are returned to the sea music of the opening. This is a beautifully conceived work that is not played often in concert and is somewhat difficult to bring off. The performance by Neeme Jarvi and the Detroit Symphony effortlessly explores the orchestral textures, turning in a superb performance.
William H. Franklin Jr. | Atlanta, GA | 02/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I heard the closing portion of Tchaikovsky's The Tempest while listening to Swiss radio online and was immediately taken by it. One can never go wrong with a Neeme Jarvi recording, so I bought this Chandos performance and found it enchanting. The Suite No. 2 is equally well-played."