on December 2, 2000
Anyone who loves sheer beauty will appreciate these Suites. And Anyone who loves Tchaikovsky MUST have these Suites. They provide a more intimate expression of Tchaikovsky. Altogether less dramatic, but just as beautiful, imaginative and characteristic, they show how Tchaikovsky was an admirer of Sentimentality, Simple Beauty, Nostalgia, Reflection... ANY listener can enjoy these suites thoroughly, however, if you are true lover of Tchaikovksy- you will come to know him even deeper, and love these charming confections as often as you love on the grand Symphonies and Ballets.
Tchaikovsky chose to compose these suites as a break from the pressures of symphonic form, and they are just that- a break- he had FUN writing them, and it shows every bar. The first suite is grand in concept, if it is maybe immature in execution. Still, no one can deny the beauty of the weaving melodies of the melancholy Andante, the dancing gaiety of the waltz, and the humor in the little march. The second suite is quite different, with its focus on children's music, and composing specifically with certain intruments in mind. The third suite has to be his masterpiece in the genre, and each movement is a wonderful entity. The theme and variations is one huge chuck of a study and great fun to listen to- Tchaikovsky, usually a harsh self-critic was even quite proud of this mvt.himself.
Dorati's baton, with its penchant for creating lively dance music excellently suits this set. He brings to life what is dead to most people- the most intimate of Tchaikovsky, his "composed for fun" suites. Enjoy these for their wonderful beauty that seems to come with such ease.
on February 27, 2000
This 2-CD set represents the finest recording of Tchaikovsky's four orchestral suites. The performance is rich and dynamic. The Philips engineers have done a wonderful job of digitally remastering the original 1967 recordings, and the sound quality is better than most recent full digital classical music. Tchaikovsky's smaller works (his solo pianos pieces, these four orchestral suites) have always been ignored and overshadowed by his more grandiose symphonies, ballets, and piano concertos. But to those who take the time to listen, one finds exquisite melodies and arrangements here. A marvelous package at a very reasonable price. Very highly recommended.
on July 30, 2001
Tchaikovsky is often considered a heart-on-sleeve Romantic, and he is. These four suites surely show him for that, but also for something more: a consummate master of his craft. Both qualities of the composer come through in the wonderful performances captured in this recording. Dorati shapes compelling interpretations, and the Philharmonia offers its usual superb playing. The Phillips engineers' work holds up very well after all these years. Here is a bargain music lovers should not pass up.