Tchaikovsky's 'Sleeping Beauty' is a wonderful ballet full of the most tender and romantic music imaginable. I was already acquainted with Rozhdestvensky's marvellous performance of 'The Nutcracker' on an old Melodiya LP set which still remains my perennial favourite. In this ballet all comes to life with irresistible brilliance, the famous waltzes, scenes and dances have an irresistible frission and excitement that is particularly wonderful. I was literally bowled over by the fantastic sound which the BBC engineers manage to garner out of the notoriously difficult Royal Festival Hall and the BBC Symphony play like utter angels throughout. There is little else to add to such a wonderful performance, I was weaned on the nostalgic George Weldon/Philharmonia set and this is an ideal complement to that magical performance with some small cuts but the overall picture is indeed magnificent.
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech