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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 1 "Winter Daydreams"; The Snow Maiden; Romeo and Juliet [Hybrid SACD] Hybrid SACD, Import


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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Tchaikovsky Lite Sept. 6 2005
By Rick Darby - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This disc, which will play on any CD player, is SACD multi-channel. I am reviewing it based on five-channel playback (my system doesn't have a subwoofer).

On the whole this is a surprisingly noncommital performance.

Jarvi has long been one of my faves, principally for two reasons.

One, having grown up in Estonia, out of the Western European and U.S. orchestral mainstream, he seemed to be earlier than his time -- which is to say, the way he conducted Romantic repertory sounded like he actually lived in that world; he wasn't trying to recreate a vanished age.

Second, he was a remarkable orchestra builder, getting second-rate ensembles such as the Scottish National Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to play their hearts out and make you feel like you were hearing one of the world's great orchestras, or at least not care if you weren't.

Fifteen years ago or whenever it was, I thought (and still think) he should have gotten Chicago when Solti retired.

So I am rather puzzled by this release.

The Tchaikovsky One strikes me as mostly the kind of "objective" music making I associate with, for instance, Christoph von Dohnanyi. Certainly not the fire-breathing Jarvi of yore.

In this performance Jarvi seems to have decided that the emotional high point is the last movement. The trouble is, he apparently couldn't find any others.

Just about everything falls neatly into place in movements 1 to 3, in a check-the-box sort of way. One of Jarvi's strengths as a conductor has previously been an instinct for finding the moments to let the music get unbuttoned, but it rarely happens here. The Adagio second movement is particularly disappointing. True, the maestro has gotten fine playing from his musicians, and the reading is elegant, but goes for beauty of sound at the expense of meaning. It's the kind of interpretation Herbert von Karajan is often accused of (usually unfairly -- try his version of the Adagio and see if it isn't far more probing).

No, not every good Tchaikovsky performance must be full of angst, but you can't convince me that this languid, beauty-for-its-own-sake style captures the essence of the author.

As suggested earlier, the finale does have more spirit. Here Jarvi encourages his players to work up some steam, and BIS's typically fine recording brilliantly conveys several thrilling moments.

Many who have been captivated by the possibilities of SACD will appreciate this issue purely for its sound quality. In that realm it is first-class. As an interpretation, I find it less than compelling. For alternatives, check out the aforementioned Karajan, as well as Tilson Thomas (1970s sound, but still attractive) and Janssons.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
First rate performance and sound quality Nov. 27 2007
By R. House - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I realize that everyone has an opinion and different tastes with a given piece of music. Well, I fully recommend this recording of Symphony No. 1 without any hesitation. In fact, I purchased this SACD with doubts myself because of the only review listed on Amazon by RD of Virginia. To my pleasant surprise, and after seeking an additional recording of this symphony for years (my favorite until now is the DG recording by Karajan and the Berliner PO), I am totally satisfied with not only the awesome SACD sound quality, but also with a top notch performance. I feel there should be another opinion for future buyers looking for a great "Winter Daydreams" recording on CD. I would feel that most anyone would welcome this addition to their Tchaikovsky collection. I'm hopeful that those exploring Tchaikovsky's symphonies for the first time will not ignore the first three he composed. No's 1, 2 & 3 are often overlooked. I was privilaged to hear a great live performance of No. 3 recently and hope to hear No's 1 & 2 also. They are rarely performed in concert.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Problems with the Tchaikovsky Symphony #1 April 22 2011
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If we rely on historical data, Tchaikovsky suffered as much with the creation of his first symphony as the audience has difficulty with making the entire work make logical symphonic sense. He struggled with the work from 1866 to its initial premiere in 1868 an then revised it extensively for its publishing in 1874. One can easily understand the frustrations of this work for the composer: it is full of delightful ideas but once an idea is stated it is replayed without a lot of variation throughout a movement. But for the audience who basically knows the symphonies and 6 of the great symphonist Tchaikovsky was to become, getting to know this early work, subtitled 'Winter Daydreams', can be a fascinating entry into the melodic inventiveness of the composer.

Neeme Järvi is as solid conductor of this work as any and he draws some lovely playing from the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. The lines that are so transparent in the work are kept appropriately clean and he allows the development of the themes and variations to unfold in a sensible manner. If there is a thrust of the Romantic missing here that may be in large part to the symphony composition itself, although in a recent concert with young Slovakian conductor Juraj Valcuha in a guest appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic it was apparent that under the right baton this symphony has power and interest too often lacking in the hands of others. One would hope that Valcuha will be recording more in the very near future: he is an immensely impressive young conductor.

The recording here includes Tchaikovsky's The Snow Maiden Op. 12 - a lightweight piece that in its entirety is 80 minutes long but here is represented by four of the stronger excerpts. The recording is fleshed out with a passionate reading of the 'Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture', and it is here we discover why Neeme Järvi decided to proceed with the large boxed set of all the Tchaikovsky symphonies and tone poems. This is a very fine performance, rich in orchestral color and intensely dramatic. Grady Harp, April 11
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Be careful about non SACD versions being sold under these listings. Dec 19 2011
By B. Tylutki - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Apparently there are two versions or should I rather say two different CD's sold under this title and listing. One is exactly as title of the listing says, which is BIS SACD. The other is just regular RBCD released by "Musical Heritage Society" licensed by BIS. Do yourself a favor and do not fall for false advertising on some listings and double check with seller before you make a purchase. Well.... I did not double check it and ended up with big surprise. These "false BIS SACD" should be sold under separate listing. One star/rating is only to draw your attention.


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