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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 / Yutaka Sado, Deutsches Symphonie Orchestra

Tchaikovsky / Deutsches Symphonie Orch / Sado
Release Date: 04/13/2010 
Label:  Challenge   Catalog #: 72356   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Yutaka Sado
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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SuperAudio CD:  $14.99
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

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TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in e. March Slav Yutaka Sado, cond; German SO of Berlin CHALLENGE 72356 (SACD: 59:58)


The oft-uttered question may well be “do we need another Tchaikovsky 5?” In this case I think so, for despite the number of fine Read more recordings currently in the catalog, and the even greater number over the years, I find no evidence to support any reading of a “definitive” Tchaik 5—all of the recordings I know leave a lot of room for alternative visions, and despite the fact that this is the most structured and even “Germanic” of Tchaikovsky’s scores, to me it receives even more interpretative leniency that the Sixth.


There have been some good ones recently; Henry Fogel Want Listed the Dudamel performance on DG, while Arthur Lintgen supplements that choice with the Eschenbach recording on Ondine (SACD). I agree that both of these are outstanding, each particular in what they bring to the work, and different from some of the older standards like Szell, Mravinsky, Ormandy (perhaps Tchaikovsky’s greatest and most consistent modern interpreter), and even the smokehouse DG recording of Bernstein. Eschenbach’s is probably the easiest for comparison in that it is Super Audio like this one under review, and there are some similarities with the way he tends to slow down the end of phrases the same way that Sado does here. This CD is not a barnburner and finds its thrills in other ways, like the superb manner that Sado delineates the many different strands of always-interesting accompaniment that the composer scores. The brass in particular get a real workout, almost as intense as that found in a Mahler symphony. Sado points out elements of the low brass work that highlight the dramatic thrust of many passages, and uses the exceptionally fine string sheen of his orchestra to great advantage, emphasizing the German Symphony Orchestra of Berlin’s naturally dark and rich tone in contrast with the piercing high brass and wonderfully energetic woodwinds.


I have to conclude that this reading tops the Eschenbach in overall effect, and its sound is simply the best this symphony has ever received. The depth and panoramic width of the aural stage is something to be marveled at, while the execution of the orchestra is spot-on and easily the equal of even Szell and Ormandy. This might not be the most viscerally exciting recording of this piece—I leave that to the DG Bernstein and maybe Dudamel—but as an overall exceptional experience of intensity of sound and beauty of tonal opulence it can’t be beat.


March Slav gets a rousing reading, a little on the fast side, though all repeats are taken, but I was a little put off by the bars that lead to the coda, usually slowed down in order to emphasize the glorious race to the finish, but in this case actually speeded up like a brakeless car heading into a parked vehicle—it is certainly disconcerting, but the performance remains exciting.


For the great orchestral playing, the interpretative nuances, and the spectacular surround sound, this becomes mandatory.


FANFARE: Steven E. Ritter
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Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 5 in E minor, Op. 64 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Yutaka Sado
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Russia 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin (D) 
Length: 50 Minutes 31 Secs. 
2. Marche slave, Op. 31 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Yutaka Sado
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Russia 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin (D) 
Length: 9 Minutes 23 Secs. 

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