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Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty [Import]

BBC Symphony Orchestra; Genady Audio CD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 122.95
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Product Details


Disc: 1
1. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Introduction
2. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Prologue, No. 1, March
3. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Prologue, No. 2, Scène dansante
4. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Prologue, No. 3, Pas de six
5. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Prologue, No. 3, Var. I: Candite
6. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Prologue, No. 3, Var. II: Coulante. Fleur de Farine
7. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Prologue, No. 3, Var. III: Miettes qui tombent
8. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Prologue, No. 3, Var. IV: Canari qui chante
9. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Prologue, No. 3, Var. V: Violente
10. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Prologue, No. 3, Var. VI: La Fée des Lilas
See all 29 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Act II, No. 14, Scène
2. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Act II, No. 15, Pas d'action. Scène d'Aurore et de Désiré
3. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Act II, No. 15, Variation d'Aurore
4. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Act II, No. 15, Coda
5. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Act II, No. 16, Scène
6. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Act II, No. 17, Panorama
7. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Act II, No. 18, Entr'acte
8. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Act II, No. 19, Entr'acte symphonique. Le Sommeil
9. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Act II, No. 20, Finale
10. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Act III, No. 22, Polacca
See all 31 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity Jan. 3 2003
It surely is a thrilling idea to have Tchaikovsky's magnificent 2nd ballet "The Sleeping Beauty" performed full-length in concert. The score is one of the greatest pieces of music of the late 19th century and can easily stand on its own, without any dancers on a stage. Yet, this recording of a live concert at London's Royal Festival Hall in October 1979 by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Gennadi Rozhdestvensky fails to convince.
Maestro Rozhdestvensky, former chief conductor of Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre and an expert on Tchaikovsky's ballet music if ever there was one, is nonetheless the first to blame for this. His no-nonsense conducting lacks charm and elegance, while the tension level drops all too frequently to sustain the attention. Moreover, instead of editing complete numbers Rozhdestvensky preferred to cut some bars here and there, which proves not only totally unnecessary but also a highly irritating practice.
The BBC Symphony Orchestra sounds only competent, with solos lacking individuality and not helped by the dull and dry recording, with unattractive brass and high violins.
A missed opportunity and in view of the available excellent recordings of "The Sleeping Beauty" a needless issue.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational Live Performance July 16 2003
This recording is of the live concert performance of this work which preceded a commercial studio recording made the following week. The commercial recording was very well received at the time but has long been unavailable. This live performance, from the Royal Festival Hall in London, was quite sensational and superbly played. The BBC's broadcast was also technically superb for its time with realistic dynamics and clear internal detail. The Penguin Guide to CD's 2003/3 Supplement has given it a rosette, placing it even above the overrated Pletnev.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without peer, THIS is a performance to CHERISH! Dec 20 2006
By Dennis Koga - Published on Amazon.com
Of all of the full-length ballets in the classical repertoire, I share George Balanchine's opinion that Sleeping Beauty is the finest and that a definitive staging will probably exist only in one's imagination.

I have collected ALL of the performances issued since the George Weldon mono recording from the mid-1950s, including the studio recording that followed this series of live BBC concerts (long out of print on Eurodisc). What makes this performance stand out is the sense of 'theater' that permeates every note. A conductor such as Gennadi Rozhdestvensky (who has led this work countless times) knows instinctively how each number need to be paced and set apart from each other. This is not just an academic exercise (or worse yet, a 'canned' performance done in the sterile environment of a studio away from the audience, dancers, and 'smell of greasepaint'); it is an approach that is essential to a buildup of dramatic tension which in turn makes each act seem like a logical sequence of pieces instead of a hodgepodge of tunes.

Forgive me if I sound like a zealot, but there is something conveyed in a live performance that makes it distinctive and unique. In the hands of a quality orchestra (and the BBC SO of 1979 was certainly one of the best at the time), there is a spontanaeous, fresh quality to the playing that makes up for the acceptable recording quality (excellent FM stereo quality if lacking in depth, and the occasional cough or audience rustle).

It is exactly this sense of anticipation, drama and direction that I found lacking in the DGG/Pletnev performance. There, the Russian National Orchestra may have the music in their blood, but Pletnev was not a ballet conductor at the time of the recording, nor was the orchestra one that had been together long enough to allow them to come together as a true ensemble, and there is no way to instill that sense without experiencing it firsthand. Owners of that performance (myself included) can rest content knowing that there is nothing missing in terms of technical or recording polish...but if they should want to know why Sleeping Beauty is considered the most special of 'ballet' music, they should investigate this performance.

The less than enthusiastic initial reviewer of this performance criticized the cuts in certain pieces (he wasn't too enamored of the performance as well). While I too prefer hearing all the music written by the composer, I did not find the cuts noticeable or detracting in terms of the music's overall flow.

I also don't know what recording he was listening to (it sure did not sound like it was the same as mine!), but what is most important to me is the sense of magic contained within the music, and ballet enthusiasts will miss out on something truly distinctive if they do not listen to this classic, peerless performance of ballet's truly finest full-length composition.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational Live Performance July 16 2003
By Laurence J Watt - Published on Amazon.com
This recording is of the live concert performance of this work which preceded a commercial studio recording made the following week. The commercial recording was very well received at the time but has long been unavailable. This live performance, from the Royal Festival Hall in London, was quite sensational and superbly played. The BBC's broadcast was also technically superb for its time with realistic dynamics and clear internal detail. The Penguin Guide to CD's 2003/3 Supplement has given it a rosette, placing it even above the overrated Pletnev.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleeping Beauty given full symphonic grandeur Jan. 10 2008
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
It's become a critical cliche to praise ballet recordings if they sound danceable, with springy rhythms and pacing that's not too fast. Rozhdestvensky turns the tables, however, by conducting Sleeping Beauty without regard for dancers -- he reveals the ambitious nature of the score once it is detached from the stage, freeing up his beat and allowing each number to billow into symphonic grandeur. The result is revelatory, especially when the music races with a headlong excitement no dancer could keep up with.

There are better played and recorded versions (e.g., Dorati with the Concertgebouw on Philips), but this one is the most emotionally stirring. The liner note says that Rozhdestvensky mounted the podium 45 min. late, due to a bass trombonist who got stuck in central London traffic. He looked furious, but you'd never know it from what emerged. It would be worth seeking out the commerical recording that was made at the same time (Oct. 1979) to hear better sound. The BBC 3 engineers did a good job, but the microphones are far away, so there's reduced impact and inner detail. On the other hand, the added vitality of a concert performance is worth a lot, too.

The ballet fills two CDs instead of the usual three. No numbers are missing; seamless cuts were made to eliminate repetiiton in some of the longer dances in Act III and to a lesser extent Act II. Overall, this is as close to an ideal Sleeping Beauty as I've ever heard, lacking only up-to-date sound.
5.0 out of 5 stars Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty April 19 2012
By Bjorn Viberg - Published on Amazon.com
Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty is the complete unabridged recording of the ballet music starring the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Gennadi Rozhdestvensky. Truly a stupendous recording and Rozhdestvensky truly understands the spirit and soul of Tchaikovsky's music. Highly recommended. 5/5.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Beauty June 22 2008
By LD400RN - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This recording of "The Sleeping Beauty" was taken live at a BBC concert in 1979. It is well-engineered and very well-played. The details in the orchestration are clear and not obtrusive with the balance being just right. Since this was a live recording there is some audience noise (coughs, etc) in some inopportune moments (why do they alway cough when it gets quiet?). The conductor (I'n not even going to try to spell his name) brings forth fist-class playing from the orchestra and his tempos are not extreme. The only fault pf these disks is that cuts were made in the score (some are clunky sounding) and it loses a little something as a whole. But, if you are looking for a version of "The Sleeping Beauty" that is not the Kirov, Dorati, or Previn recordings, this is the one.
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