WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty / Jarvi, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Tchaikovsky / Ehnes / Bergen Philharmonic Orch
Release Date: 11/13/2012 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 5113   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Multi 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  
On sale! $29.99
SuperAudio CD:  $28.49
Low Stock

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The Sleeping Beauty is frequently cut, but according to the excellent sleeve-notes, this recording is absolutely complete. It includes, for example, the aristocratic dances in the 1st Tableau of Act 2 and the dance of the Sapphire Fairy, the Pas Berrichon and the Sarabande in Act 3. Stravinsky declared The Sleeping Beauty to be Tchaikovsky's chef d'oeuvre and he was not far wrong, for it demonstrates many of the composer's best musical characteristics: it is tuneful, dramatic, skilfully orchestrated and never dull. The composer himself was 'charmed and delighted beyond all description' by the scenario. 'It suits me perfectly and I ask for nothing more than to set it to music.' When, after just a few weeks, he had finished the composition, Read more he wrote to his patron, Nadezhda von Meck: 'I think, my dear friend, that the music of this ballet will comprise one of my best works'. He did have trouble with the scoring but that was because he wished to use new instrumental combinations. This splendid recording makes it obvious that he, for example, replaces the harp with the piano as an obbligato instrument in the final act. It is sad that his first audience was unimpressed, the Tsar apparently remarked that it was 'very nice' and then haughtily dismissed the composer from his presence! We can relax because this is far more than very nice - it is a superb rendering. Neeme Järvi seems never to put a foot wrong and the Bergen orchestra impresses as much, conducted by him, as it does under its principal conductor Andrew Litton in his many recordings for BIS. The producers have pulled out all the stops and engaged no less a violinist than James Ehnes to play the important violin solos, a strikingly indulgent decision which pays dividends because Ehnes' outstanding technique makes these sections truly memorable. The Grieghallen is obviously a lovely venue because the 5.0 MCH recording has a high degree of reality, not a description I often feel able to use.

Tchaikovsky's score is unusually coherent for a ballet. Of the huge number of compositions to which choreographers regularly work, Tchaikovsky's belong, along with those of Prokofiev and Stravinsky, in the group of musically important creations which succeed in the concert hall as much as in the theatre. For many years my personal reaction to The Sleeping Beauty was somewhat muted. I have a performance by the LSO and André Previn recorded by EMI in 1974 and I have never enjoyed it as much as Swan Lake or The Nutcracker. Spending time with this new Chandos set has quite revised my opinion. The sense of dramatic structure and urgent forward motion is captivating. One is even propelled through the rather anti-climactic final act, where there is really no significant action. On stage Act 3 is really just 47 minutes of balletic bravura, properly a Divertissement, but Järvi and the Bergen band continue to treat the score seriously. As Tchaikovsky himself believed, he composed some of his very best music for this ballet, worthy to stand with the Fantasy Overture - Romeo and Juliet, Manfred and the Fifth Symphony. David Nice's sleeve-notes are right to emphasise the importance of the complete score as a significant dramatic masterpiece.

This is a great work in a very fine performance beautifully recorded.

– Dave Billinge, MusicWeb International

This selection is a Hybrid Multichannel Super Audio CD. The Stereo Hybrid SACD program can be played on any standard compact disc player. The DSD Surround and Stereo programs require an SACD player for playback. Read less

Works on This Recording

Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Russia 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Super August 14, 2015 By David A. (Des Plaines, IL) See All My Reviews "The sound is beautiful and delicious. The orchestra under Jarvi plays with color and is fluent in all the passages." Report Abuse
 Great addition to the Tchaikovsky discography June 12, 2013 By Martin H. (Gilbert, AZ) See All My Reviews "First, the sound is superb. No complaints there at all. Second, after a pointless and dull set of symphonies from the conductor, here he seems to be a very good Tchaikovsky conductor after all. I had hoped it would be the Sleeping Beauty of all time, but it's not. Richard Bonynge still is tops as far as I'm concerned and that is my 5 star recommedation. Jarvi is a lot better than some of the recent attempts, and there are some harp solos here that I've never heard before in any of the 8 recordings I have. Jarvi treats the work like a tone poem; I doubt you could dance to some of his quick tempos, but it sure makes listening fun. If you're looking for your first Sleeping Beauty, you won't go wrong with this." Report Abuse
Review This Title