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Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty (Neeme Järvi/ James Ehnes/ Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra) (Chandos: CHSA 5113(2)) [Double CD, Hybrid SACD, SACD]

James Ehnes , Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra , Pjotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky , Neeme Järvi Audio CD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Product Description

SUPER AUDIO CD IN SURROUND SOUND

This two-disc set marks the beginning of a new project devoted to Tchaikovsky's ballet scores. We start the survey with the complete score of The Sleeping Beauty, recorded on SACD. Swan Lake and The Nutcracker will follow in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Tchaikovsky was approached by the Director of the Imperial Theatres in St Petersburg, Ivan Vsevolozhsky, in 1888 about a possible ballet adaptation of Charles Perrault's La Belle au bois dormant (The Sleeping Beauty). The vision was to stage the production in the style of Louis XIV, allowing the musical fantasy to run high and melodies to be written in the spirit of Lully, Bach, and Rameau. This proposal for a fairy-tale ballet rooted firmly in both the rococo and baroque periods appealed to Tchaikovsky, and The Sleeping Beauty was premiered in 1890, with choreography by Petipa, the principal choreographer of his day.

Elaborately constructed, the ballet places its focus undeniably on the two main conflicting forces of good (the Lilac Fairy) and evil (Carabosse). Each has a representative leitmotif, which runs through the entire ballet, serving as an important thread to the underlying plot. Tchaikovsky's use of what, at the time, were considered new and unorthodox instrumental combinations went on to inspire a new generation of composers, among them Stravinsky, who declared The Sleeping Beauty to be Tchaikovsky's chef d'uvre.

The Sleeping Beauty is here performed by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Neeme Järvi, who is celebrating two major milestones this year: a thirty-year recording career with Chandos Records, and his own seventy-fifth birthday. Orchestra and conductor are joined by the pre-eminent violinist James Ehnes, one of the most dynamic and exciting performers in classical music today.

Review

Jarvi's conducting is rational, adopting as it does the natural pacings and colouristic inflections from which it is possible to appriciate the character of the dances in one's minds eye. Gramophone, Jan'13. The Bergen Philharmonic proves an ideal instrument for one of Tchaikovsky's most magical scores. Neemi Jarvi's every demand is met with immaculate playing, recorded in a warm but not too resonant acoustic,and you are soon swept up by their characterful account of the Prologue and Act 1: the sense of bustling excitement that opens Act 1 and the wonderfully detailed playing of the waltz that follows demonstrate the strengths of this performance. Performance **** Recording ***** --BBC Music Magazine, Feb'13

With 450 recordings to his credit, it s a wonder that Jarvi has left any stone of the mainstream orchestral repertory unturned. This is the first instalment of a series of Tchaikovsky's three great ballet scores, which the veteran Estonian maestro, right, has never before recorded complete and timely it is, given the yuletide ubiquity of the slumbering princess. From the outset the agitated, percussive motto representing the malign fairy Carabosse it is clear that Jarvi has no intention of lingering. His brisk allegros would probably rush the most virtuosic ballerinas off their feet in the theatre. On record, without the distraction of spectacle and dancing, the dramatic momentum hardly lets up, although he and the excellent Bergen players luxuriate in the rapt steps of Aurora s famous Rose Adagio. His tempi ensure that the entire score is contained on two well-filled discs, and he has high-carat instrumental soloists, too: the Bergen Phil's harpist, Johannes Wix, making ripples of magic in the prologue's Good Fairies pas de six and the prima ballerina s adagio; and Ehnes, no less, in the solos that Tchaikovsky wrote for the Hungarian fiddler Leopold Auer, the ungrateful dedicatee of his unplayable Violin Concerto. A Christmas treat. --Sunday Times, 23/01/13

The Sleeping Beauty is considered by many to be the greatest of all ballet scores, though in the theatre nowadays, we usually hear it with extensive cuts. Neeme Järvi is the latest conductor to champion the complete score, and his new recording gives us every note of the piece, including the extended divertissements, and the grand ceremonial passages that Tchaikovsky modelled on Lully and Rameau. You might find yourselves in two minds about it. Järvi's extreme speeds result in a performance to which you can't imagine anyone dancing. And his interpretation is at times low-key, with some of the big setpieces, particularly the Rose Adagio, notably lacking in grandeur. The playing is ravishing, though, and a couple of glamorous guest instrumentalists, James Ehnes and Robert deMaine, add real lustre to the concertante violin and cello solos respectively.*** --Guardian, 10/01/13

...the orchestra plays expertly, with well characterised solo lines and an enviable ense of balance that allows Tchaikovsky's more subtle instrumental touches to shine through with unaccustomed freshness. --IRR, Feb'13

The Sleeping Beauty is considered by many to be the greatest of all ballet scores, though in the theatre nowadays, we usually hear it with extensive cuts. Neeme Järvi is the latest conductor to champion the complete score, and his new recording gives us every note of the piece, including the extended divertissements, and the grand ceremonial passages that Tchaikovsky modelled on Lully and Rameau. You might find yourselves in two minds about it. Järvi's extreme speeds result in a performance to which you can't imagine anyone dancing. And his interpretation is at times low-key, with some of the big setpieces, particularly the Rose Adagio, notably lacking in grandeur. The playing is ravishing, though, and a couple of glamorous guest instrumentalists, James Ehnes and Robert deMaine, add real lustre to the concertante violin and cello solos respectively.*** --Guardian, 10/01/13

Product Description

James Ehnes, violon - Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra - Neeme Järvi, direction
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