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Leonard Slatkin Conducts Tchaikovsky Ballets

Tchaikovsky / Slatkin
Release Date: 03/25/2014 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 1920082   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Barbara LibermanJohn Sant'AmbrogioFrances TietovSusan Slaughter,   ... 
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony OrchestraSt. Louis Symphony Women's Chorus
Number of Discs: 6 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Leonard Slatkin’s Tchaikovsky symphony cycle was, on the whole, good but rather ordinary. His recordings of the ballets, however, are excellent, and finer than any of the more recent releases coming out of Russia (Gergiev, for example). Slatkin captures the full romantic sweep of the big tunes in Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty, but his handling of the climaxes combines remarkable textural clarity with uninhibited exuberance. It’s very rare to hear this music indulged so generously without a trace of vulgarity.

For all the precision and attention to color that Slatkin finds in these pieces, there is also no lack of excitement. Consider, for example, the notably well-judged accelerando at the end of the Trepak in The
Read more Nutcracker. All of these qualities make this version of The Sleeping Beauty arguably the best yet recorded, and that’s saying a lot. Slatkin’s approach to repeats in this lengthy work makes good musical sense, allowing us to hear everything Tchaikovsky wrote, if not necessarily as many times as he wrote it.

The result has the necessary theatricality but always remains conscious of the fact that these performances are intended for listening at home, away from the stage. The engineering is also some of the best that RCA gave Slatkin in St. Louis. When initially released, some of the the individual sets did not survive long in the catalog, so it’s good to see them reissued inexpensively and, hopefully, for a long enough time so that music lovers can buy them.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Nutcracker, Op. 71 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Barbara Liberman (Celesta)
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra,  St. Louis Symphony Women's Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891-1892; Russia 
Language: Russian 
Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Russia 
Swan Lake, Op. 20 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  John Sant'Ambrogio (Cello), Frances Tietov (Harp), Susan Slaughter (Cornet),
Jacques Israelievitch (Violin)
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875-1876; Russia 

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