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Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites / Karajan, Vienna [Blu-ray Audio]


Release Date: 03/18/2014 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 002009946   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is an audio-only (i.e., with no video content) Blu-ray disc playable only on Blu-ray players.

It is also available on standard CD.

TCHAIKOVSKY Swan Lake: Suite. The Sleeping Beauty: Suite. The Nutcracker: Suite Herbert von Karajan, cond; Vienna PO DECCA 002894785028 (Blu-ray Audio: 69:30) Read more

Herbert von Karajan is not a name that you would particularly associate with ballet music, but he actually recorded these super-popular suites three times on three different labels (Decca, EMI, and Deutsche Grammophon). Karajan’s performances in these Decca recordings are very dramatic, sharply pointed rhythmically, and more symphonic than balletic, with some tempo extremes that are not particularly danceable. There is little of the affected sound sculpting that would mar many of his later Deutsche Grammophon recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.


The original recordings were made in 1961 ( The Nutcracker ), and 1965 ( Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty ) with John Culshaw (producer) and Gordon Parry (engineer) for Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty . The sound is, not surprisingly, big and dramatic with a wide, deep soundstage and plenty of wide open airiness, but don’t expect something on the level of the Solti Ring . The sound is qualitatively similar, but the highs are disappointingly laid back and relatively dull in comparison, and there is not as much instrumental detail. The Nutcracker (engineered by James Brown) sounds somewhat congested, with rather coarse and aggressive highs. Still, with Culshaw and Parry the sound is quite good on this Blu-ray audio disc. I do not have the original recordings or CD reissues for comparison.


For those of you interested in having the three Tchaikovsky ballet suites on one disc, this is an excellent coupling with good sound and highly dramatic, symphonic interpretations.

FANFARE: Arthur Lintgen
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Works on This Recording

1.
Swan Lake Suite, Op. 20a by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875-1876; Russia 
Date of Recording: 03/1965 
Venue:  Sofien Hall, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 25 Minutes 44 Secs. 
2.
Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Russia 
Date of Recording: 09/1961 
Venue:  Sofien Hall, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 21 Minutes 47 Secs. 
3.
Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Russia 
Date of Recording: 03/1965 
Venue:  Sofien Hall, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 21 Minutes 42 Secs. 

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