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SACD Review

Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky

BIS SACD 1398
  • Symphony #1 in G minor, 'Winter Daydreams'
  • The Snow Maiden – Orchestral excerpts
  • Roméo and Juliet – Fantasy Overture after Shakespeare
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Neeme Järvi
BIS SACD-1398 77m DDD Hybrid SACD
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This is the first instalment in a new projected cycle of Tchaikovsky symphonies under the genial conductor, Neeme Järvi. One might ask if there is the need for yet another set of symphonies by this composer although the fact that the SACD format is being used may mitigate the circumstances.

Järvi's pacing in the 'Winter Daydreams' symphony is reminiscent of the legendary Doráti whose magnificent set just released on Mercury/Decca I was fortunate enough to review lately. The opening Allegro tranquillo has the GSO playing with their usual geniality for their former chief and the Finale which is marked Andante lugubre-allegro maestoso is equally barnstorming although I still retain affection for the interpretation by Maazel and the VPO.

The fillers are a combination of rarity and popularity. Most Tchaikovskians will have already acquired the complete Chandos recording of the 'Snow Maiden' music so these excerpts are only there for curiosity. The 'Roméo and Juliet' is winningly done but does not rank amongst the best I've heard but it does sound quite stunning on SACD. Recordings are excellent albeit slightly on the bright side and the next issue in this cycle is eagerly awaited.

Copyright © 2005, Gerald Fenech

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