I wish I could give this CD a more hearty recommendation, especially as, at over the 80 minutes, it is an exceptionally generous offering.
The critical reception has been favourable, but although I cannot fault the high standard of the playing on this disc to my ears at least there is something quite conservative and buttoned-up about the performances- in marked contrast to Karabits' live concerts.
I'd love to recommend that as many people buy this CD as possible, but to be honest I would have expected much more from the interpretations. Tchaikovsky's `Little Russian' symphony is carried off with some style, and Karabits makes a good case for it, but it doesn't sparkle as it can and should. There's something a little too laid back about the second movement, and it all sounds rather staid: Karabits can, and has, made this music far more exciting.
Similarly, the Mussorgsky `Pictures at an exhibition' in the familiar Ravel orchestration don't catch fire for me, and whilst the original version of the Night on the Bare Mountain is an interesting demonstration of Mussorgsky's experimental nature, I know this orchestra can sound far more engaged in this repertoire.
Once again the Onyx recording disappoints: the long range back of the hall acoustic sounds dull and does the orchestra a disservice.
These are good performances, but not great ones, and in this economic climate and an overcrowded classical catalogue for these works, something more distinctive is required to make an impact.