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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker; Suites Nos.3 & 4

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 Mar. 2013)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B00005CCAA
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 307,995 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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18
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19
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Disc 2
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2
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3
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4
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5
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6
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8
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9
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Product Description

DORATI ANTAL / CONCERTGEBOUW /

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
As an audiophile and lifelong fan of The Nutcracker, I've acquired about 8 recordings of this masterpiece, including those by Gergiev, Ozawa, Rodzinski, Bychkov, Ansermet, Slatkin, Dutoit, and others. I can say unequivocally that this Dorati/Concertgebouw performance has remained my favorite since I first bought it on vinyl back in the 70's, then on CD. The original CD version includes excerpts of the Sleeping Beauty on disk 2, and is still available (on Philips). The sound on that issue is as brilliant as the spectacular performance.

However, this latest remastering has rendered it almost unrecognizable. The re-mix is muddy and dull; the soundstage is congested; countless small details are now buried in the mix. For example the "small" percussion (xylophone, tambourine, snare drum, triangle, etc.), which added such spice to earlier editions is barely audible here.

So, if you want a nonpareil performance and recording of the Nutcracker, get the original CD on Philips. You'll be thrilled. This edition is an inexcusable sonic disappointment.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you are looking for the nutcracker, this is the set to get
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8a8b40d8) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b425fd8) out of 5 stars Still the best. 16 Nov. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Delightful as the 1998 "Nutcracker" recording by Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra is, I still believe Dorati's is the standard by which all should be judged. The tempi here are a little slower and more dancerly and the strings seem a bit less harsh. The sound quality, particularly on this new remastering, is phenomenal for a quarter-century-old recording.
If you want to hear this ballet as the masterpiece it is and not simply as holiday background Muzak, you can't go wrong with this CD.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90824d68) out of 5 stars Beware of the Nutcracker re-mastering... 13 Dec. 2009
By J. R. Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you're considering purchasing this for the Nutcracker, don't. Performance-wise, this is still the best of the best, but for this particular edition, Philips apparently re-mastered the recording, taking one of their most brilliant and lucid productions, and muffling it. I did an A-B comparison with the earlier CD immediately upon receiving this one, and it was immediately obvious that the earlier mastering reveals far more instrumental detail and projects a much more realistic soundstage with more air around the instruments.

So if you're after a complete Nutcracker, by all means get the Dorati/Concertgebouw original transfer, the one with the Sleeping Beauty excerpts included. You'll be thrilled. This 50th Anniversary edition is an inexcusable sonic disappointment.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8a411a5c) out of 5 stars Great Nutcracker. best suites available 4 Aug. 2001
By Yogui - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There isn't much I can say about the reputation of Dorati as a Tchaikovsky ballets conductor. And, on this occasion, he does it as well as usual. He deals perfectly with the more menacing as well as with the more smooth passages on this ballet. And the Concertgebouw sounds splendid. I don't know any other versions of the suites but these are regarded as the best ones available. Unfortunately the 1st and 2nd are not published any longer and you can get only number 3 and 4 on this CD. (Naturally I mean Dorati's versions). If only Philips had them re-edited again...
Finally I must tell that the sound quality is also great, as well as the muscial quality. So, if you're looking for the suites buy these ones. And if you're looking for the ballet ypu won't be dissapointed with this one and it won't be easy for you to find a better one (there are, anyway, another good ones such as Ansetmet or Previn).
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8a4c3888) out of 5 stars A Splendid Nutcracker; A Balletic Approach to the Suites 10 Feb. 2009
By Aronne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This set, formerly available only at mid-price, has been reissued at duo price: a plus right off the bat.

The Nutcracker is a work that always gives pleasure. When it is conducted as Antal Dorati conducts it, it becomes sublime. Dorati captures the more ethereal moments of Tchaikovsky's score without fault on this recording. It beats, in my estimation, the later Valerie Gergiev recording (also on Philips). Dorati's tempi always seem "right" for some inexplicable reason.

Only once, in the Waltz of the Flowers, do things become a bit controversial. His phrasing is not the smooth (dare I say sentimental?) approach we are used to. He lets the music lilt uniquely, so that the sound delivered is more pointed. Enjoyment of this will simply be a matter of taste.

Dorati's balletic approach to the suites generally works very well. Only in the finale of the Suite No. 3 does the music sound a bit *too* dancy. His suites are otherwise faultless, recorded 1966 in excellent analogue sound.

Overall, this is an excellent issue of Dorati's 1975 Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam recording of the Nutcracker, with a far more desirable issue than in its Philips Duo incarnation. The latter issue contains highlights of The Sleeping Beauty, a work much better heard in full. The Suites are worthy works of that great composer, Tchaikovsky.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8a691768) out of 5 stars Still one of the top Nutcrackers after almost forty years 3 Dec. 2012
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Record collectors get to squabble over the merits of Dorati's first Nutcracker (Mercury, 1962) and this remake (Philips, 1975), but the consensus is that this experienced ballet conductor had a feeling for the work. almost forty years on, who can disagree? There's a fairly low bar for Nutcracker recordings - the score isn't hard to interpret and the audience is mostly children - but here and there one finds musically exciting readings. Gergiev leads one in robust Russian style on a single disc (philips) that became a big success, and deservedly so. andre previn has another long-lasting version (EMI) that reflects sedate English ballet style.

I like the Russian way with this score, but there's no denying that Dorati leads a vigorous, colorful performance in very good sound with the Concertgebouw pitching in - you don't get the feeling that the musicians are thinking about grabbing a pint two minutes after the session is over. Here at amazon one review says that the orchestra is on fire, another that they are scrambling at breakneck speed, a third that the reading is subtle. there's more than a dash of truth in all these perspectives. Dorati doesn't dawdle, although I don't feel that he is breathlessly fast. the playing has lots of subtlety, and yet he keeps up the momentum, which makes this a dramatic Nutcracker. It's not kept in check to match what dancers can do onstage; this is definitely a concert reading.

As such, it's deservedly a classic. If a newcomer wanted just one complete Nutcracker, this one would do very well. (This later Philips 50 reissue has better sound than the original and better fillers in Tchaikovsky's lovely, overlooked Orchestral Suites no. 3 and 4, which are very welcome. Dorati's nimble readings are a bit lightweight compared to more robust Russian accounts, but they are undeniably graceful and assured. The New Philharmonia, recorded in 1966, sounds richly beautiful.)
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