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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, Etc / Daniele Gatti, Royal Po

Release Date: 02/10/2004 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 907381   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Daniele Gatti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Daniele Gatti invests Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 with a freshness and vitality that belies its warhorse stature. The opening will surprise many listeners as Gatti abandons the usual somber approach (some conductors turn the intro into a mini funeral dirge) and employs a flowing tempo that picks up considerable steam in the allegro proper. Indeed, you'd have to go all the way back to Markevitch's 1966 Philips recording to find a similarly driven first movement. But Gatti also knows when to loosen the reins, as in the lyrical second subject where he gives the quasi-waltz an infectious lilt that never becomes cloying. The Andante cantabile begins in beautifully somber atmosphere, but Gatti soon stirs up the music's passion, hurling headlong Read more into the movement's heartrending climax. Flowing tempos enliven the last two movements, with Gatti powerfully playing up the finale's dramatic episodes.

On the whole this is a highly persuasive and involving account of the Fifth, with marvelous playing from the Royal Philharmonic, most notably the winds in the first two movements and the brass throughout. However, the rather low-level recording initially gives the impression of a performance that lacks focus and impact. Cranking the volume solidifies the sonic image and provides much needed presence. Even so, the distant, reverberant acoustic makes the timpani sound cloudy and diffuse, as if the players were using fur-covered mallets. Happily, Gatti's incisive interpretation overcomes these slight sonic imperfections.

The conductor also finds success with Romeo and Juliet (recorded five years earlier in a different venue) which, although it doesn't match Bernstein or Muti for emotional intensity, nonetheless impresses through Gatti's free-flowing pacing and keen sense of drama. The balletic fight music and slightly cool love scene recall Pletnev in his better performances (the Virgin Classics Tchaikovsky Sixth), and the precision of the playing and care with dynamics add up to a refreshingly vital view of the work--light, but never superficial. This is a fine start, then, to what could well turn out to be an exciting and rewarding new venture for Harmonia Mundi.
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Symphony no 5 in E minor, Op. 64 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Daniele Gatti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Russia 
Date of Recording: 2003 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 45 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Romeo and Juliet Overture by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Daniele Gatti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869/1880; Russia 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  Watford Colosseum, London, England 
Length: 20 Minutes 39 Secs. 

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