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4.6 out of 5 stars32
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 9 May 2007
This is an astonishing reading of 1812 Overture. Vibrant, dynamic and passionate...everyone's enjoying themselves. It builds up to a magnificent climax and is performed with real gusto, but you will require an above average system to really appreciate the performance dynamics. In my room it ranges 35-110db and the concluding artillery salvo is quite something!!

When the mood takes you..................!!
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on 3 December 2003
Although the Polovtsian Dances are indeed on this CD it is a little misleading to have this as the title when in fact it is the 1812 Overture that is the lead piece - and indeed the star of the show. This was a wonderful find as this version is actually a choral one, which works wonderfully. The chorus opens and closes the performance with breathtaking effect, especially in the crescendo where they combine with spine tingling results not only with the orchestra, but also with fine cannons from the Gothenburg Artillery and the sound of genuine bells from the churches of Gothenburg. It is this combination of real guns and bells combined with voices that lifts this performance out of the ordinary. Even if, like me, you already own the 1812 I highly recommend you add this to your collection. The CD has a good mix of orchestral pieces and choral works, all of which are very familiar and well performed. For real goosebumps at every performance get clicking with your mouse!
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VINE VOICEon 27 January 2011
I have owned the Yuri Ahronovitch version of the 1812 Overture with the London Symphony Orchestra since the early days of digital recordings, and although the cannons on that recording are very impressive, even more so than on this version under Jarvi, I have always found the opening flat and tedious. It is well known that Tchaikovsy wrote this piece in a hurry to a time schedule, and it is not considered one of his best works.
Adding the chorus to the beginning, adds immensely to the interest and drama, even though it was not Tchaikovsky who added the choral section. The chorus also reenters at the end to great dramatic effect. This version is very similar to that under Pappano on EMI Classics who uses the chorus even more, but whereas this Jarvi version uses real cannon, the Pappano version does not (see separate review). However, it is justifiable to buy both versions, as the couplings are completely different. Jarvi couples with March slave, and Borodin's Polovtsian Dances amongst other works, whereas Pappano couples with three other Tchaikovsky works, the brilliant Francesca da Rimini, Romeo and Juliet and Eugene Onegin.
For the 1812 Overture, I fractionally prefer Jarvi as the real cannon sounds better than the artificially equalised bass drum on the Pappano version. However, if you like the other works listed, it would be well worth buying both discs as I have done.

Andrew Taylor

Worsley, Manchester
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on 13 March 2009
The quality of the recording is as you would expect from DG, and it's wonderful to have a full chorus, making this a truly memorable recording.
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VINE VOICEon 21 May 2012
This must be the very best recording of the 1812 Overture EVER ! it has everything.. choir..real cannon..real bells..the lot, it makes my hair stand on end and have goosebumps all over ! it really is brilliant and makes me really happy just to hear it, in fact it is a tonic for a grey day. The rest of this long CD. is brilliant too, and again the choir will join in most of the pieces. I really recommend this CD, it has the real feel good factor, so go on treat yourself it's worth every penny. Sit in your comfy armchair (on your own is best) turn the volume up really loud and ENJOY !!
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I still have a choral version of 1812 and the Marche Slave on LP, recorded with the Vienna Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel and on CBS Masterworks series.

So, I was already used to the choral version which I always loved and preferred as it made the whole symphony come alive with surprising passion and emotion.

Finding a CD replacement lead me to this recording - which does differ. I thought I'd been cut short on the CD's version of 1812. On the LP, I also get Wellington's Victory & The Battle of Victoria.

I'm not a classical listener, generally, so don't know the ins and outs. But, the extra Borodin, especially the Polovtsian Dances are absolutely wonderful and I've always enjoyed, since childhood, the colours and magic of Russian composers such as Rimsky Korsakov. So, his Russian Easter Festival Overture and Capriccio are nice bonuses.

I've heard a few cannon renditions on various 1812's and have to say that rather too much emphasis is placed on a few booms and considering how long they actually last for. However, I always have to slam down the volume knob at decent listening volumes and I don't think I've heard a purer deep thump than on this recording. I'm sure it sets off a seismology monitoring device somewhere!
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on 30 January 2011
I have other recodings of the 1812, notably Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony. Jarvi's recording is a thrilling orchestration, well timed and well phrased. The chorus brings wonderful colour and to the performance, and, for me, adds a real human quality to the interpretation. The orchestration is very expressive, with a wide range of mood and emotion, which is exhilarating in all the right places. The real canons and church bells fit perfectly, and underpin the quality of production of the recording, as, on my (excellent) system, the canons fire from the rear, and the bells ring from above the orchestra and certainly appear to be in a belfry. This is a throughly enjoyable recording and will not disappoint.
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on 9 February 2011
It is the 1812, but not as you know it (probably).

It is a very powerful and emotionally charged choral version, something I have never heard before at least. A good recording, nice and clear and crisp. Somewhat quieter than you may expect, but turn it up loud and it is superb.
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on 7 November 2012
Absolutely brilliant disc. One previous reviewer was fairly dismissive of the recording quality but I must say that this wasn't an issue for me. The dynamic range is huge, so if you have high quality equipment this is not a problem, only for your neighbours! The performances are first class and very exciting. It's difficult to compare this 1812 with the classic Mercury recording by Antal Dorati Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture etc, as it's a different era and recording technique - I am happy to live with both. The disc is worth having for the other pieces alone - 1812 is not a piece you want to listen to very often, with or without chorus!
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on 7 April 2015
Fantastic - Poor reviewers must be deaf.The first version I ever purchased and it will always be in Top 3. I have Floor Standing speakers AE 109,s with English Amp and the cannons blow ya socks off - the build up cannot be faulted.Have ordered some different versions on vinyl including early master recordings (including Andre Previn) - Lorin Maazel Vienna Philharmonic seemed a bit disappointing at first but made up for it past the half way mark with really frightening canons !! although not perfectly timed ? - can,t wait to compare the others.
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