TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64. Francesca
Simón Bolivár Youth Orchestra of Venezuela/Gustavo Dudamel,
DGG B0012763 (F) TT: 73:45
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"THE ART OF BERNARD HAITINK"
DVORÁK: Symphony No. 7 in d minor, Op. 70.
SMETANA: The Moldau. SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 8 in B minor "Unfinished." BEETHOVEN:
Symphony No. 7 in A, Op. 92. WAGNER: Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde.
MAHLER: Symphony No. 1 in D "Titan." STRAUSS: Death and Transfiguration, Op.
24. DEBUSSY: La Mer. BARTÓK: Concerto for Orchestra. TCHAIKOVSKY: Francesca
da Rimini, Op. 32. (all with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra). BRAHMS:
Symphony No. 3 in F, Op. 90. RAVEL: Mother Goose Ballet. (all with
Symphony Orchestra). LISZT: Festklänge. STRAVINSKY: The
Rite of Spring.
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93 (all with London Philharmonic
Orchestra). BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 3 in D minor (Vienna Philharmonic
Orchestra). STRAVINSKY: Scherzo á la russe (Berlin Philharmonic
DECCA 478 1429 (7 disks) (B)
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TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64. Capriccio
45. 1812 Festival Overture, Op. 49
Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orch/Paul van Kempen, cond.
PHILIPS 420858 (M) (F) TT: 57 min.
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Deutsche Grammophon has something very special, a recording contract
with dynamic young conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolivár
Youth Orchestra. This is the
4th CD. The first was a coupling of Beethoven's Symphonies 5 and 7 (REVIEW), the
second, Mahler's Symphony No. 5 which I have not heard, and the third
called Fiesta (REVIEW). Unfortunately,
audio engineers involved in recordings thus far issued have not done their
Audio for the Beethoven was adequate, but little more, and Fiesta offered
a diffuse sonic picture with little impact. These new Tchaikovsky performances
2008, listed as live performances, but only Francesca has
applause.Unfortunately, we have severe audio problems with the symphony.
Bass is undefined, French
back, and there is a lack of clarity and impact, particularly in percussion.
For whatever reason, Francesca has excellent sound—it's unfortunate
the symphony isn't as well recorded. Dudamel's performances of these Tchaikovsky
works are magnificent! The Venezuelan Youth Orchestra contains more
than 190 players—they
many of them are heard in these performances, but surely most of them
are. The orchestra is HUGE, and what a pleasure it is to hear
all those strings digging into Tchaikovsky's rich scoring.They play with
total virtuosity and it is to their credit that they can perfectly execute
the young conductor's intense
approach to both scores. Nothing is missing in these vibrant, dynamic performances.
The symphony's second movement is serenely beautiful, with the horn solo
played by the orchestra's second principal.
In spite of inferior sound, one
can still appreciate the electrifying performance of this familiar symphony.
This recording of Francesca is
dedicated to Maestro José Antonio Abreu who founded the orchestra
in 1976. Abreu's video tape of this music was
an inspiration to Dudamel. Francesca,
recorded live, is in another league sonically—we can really
hear the splendid orchestral sounds. This disk offers an exciting
these warhorses, an intriguing
chapter in Dudamel's recording career. Let us hope future releases will
have engineering that fully captures the orchestra's sound. And if you'd
like to hear that, try to find a copy of the orchestra's BBC Proms performance
of two years ago (yet to be issued commercially), or their performance
of Beethoven's Eroica from the Bonn Festival on DVD (REVIEW).
As an 80th Birthday tribute to Bernard Haitink, Decca has lovingly
gathered together many of of his finest recordings made
1995. All 7 CDs are filled to maximum, and the price is budget. Invariably
Haitink is at his best in live performances—check out his superb
live Mahler symphonies available on DVD (REVIEW) and
the set of live recordings issued a year ago (REVIEW). These
show an involvement with the music usually not heard in his cautious
recordings. Audio quality varies on the new compilation,
from the magnificent (La Mer),
to the dismal (the Liszt symphonic poem and Stravinsky Rite),
both with London Philharmonic. The LPO recordings were anemic sounding
when originally issued—dry,
unresonant, totally lacking in low bass, and this latest issue
doesn't improve them. There are no program notes, but we do have a
three-page article on Haitink's career, in three languages. This set
comes in a cardboard box, with each of the seven disks in its own unlabelled
Paul van Kempen's Tchaikovsky recordings with the Amsterdam
Concertgebouw Orchestra were made in 1951: 1812, January 16; Symphony
slave, May 1951; Romeo and Juliet, July 17-18; Capriccio
5, in December. All are remarkable performances with the mighty Concertgebouw
in full stride. This is perhaps the finest Capriccio italien ever
recorded, and all of the others are surely among the best. Unfortunately
No. 5 Van Kempen makes a rather large cut in the finale, but he does add
two cymbal crashes at the climax of the final movement, and they
are highly effective. You will be surprised to hear these,
but I imagine that you will find them of keen interest—and miss them
in other performances. They seem to belong and, unfortunately, no other
effective change—except for Willem Mengelberg, who in his 1928 Columbia
recording adds one cymbal. All of these VanKempen recordings
have excessive bass and overly-bright high
frequencies. At the end of Capriccio there is distortion that
seems to be on the original recording. All of these recordings were released
1993 in a 3-disk set
(Philips 438 310) that also contained Kempen's other Tchaikovsky recordings
with the Lamoureux Orchestra. It's admirable that ArkivMusic has
resurrected the Philips CD containing items above—and let us hope
they will also reissue the other disk that contains Symphony No. 6 and Romeo
add to it the stunning Marche slave which could easily fit, and
was only included in the 3-disk set. This are important recordings for
R.E.B. (March 2009)