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Rococo Variations / Andante Cantabile / Nocturne Import

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, February 3, 1997
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Product Details

  • Composer: PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY, ORPHEUS CHAMBER ORCH
  • Audio CD (February 3, 1997)
  • Imported ed. edition
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Dg Imports
  • ASIN: B000001GYU
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,778 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The reviewer from Tucson (below) "teed off" on this CD, writing off this recording of the Rococo Variations as merely "acceptable." This is a tremendous disservice to any of you considering buying this CD, as well as to Maisky himself and the members of the Orpheus CO. IMHO, Maisky has a sympathetic orchestra accompanying him, but it is also very true that the Orpheus players have a "sympathetic" soloist here.

Specifically regarding this recording of the Rococo Variations: Maisky's careful feeling for dynamics is evident throughout; in the first and second variations, he is meticulous about his volume, playing mezzo-piano when the orchestra members have the melody, making himself adequately heard while avoiding even the hint of overpowering the group and spoiling the melody. Maisky takes the third variation slower here than other soloists I've heard, but it certainly doesn't spoil the recording.

In the concluding seventh variation, Maisky impressively rips through those fiendish passages (his intonation and phrasing are arguably flawless), and THIS is the place where other soloists and their accompanying orchestras often make a less-than-heartstopping impact, with the orchestra often registering a slightly distant echo in the call-and-response. But Maisky and the Orpheus violins match each other stride for stride, especially in dynamics - the violins' presence here is EXACTLY what it should be. Likewise, the orchestra does not wash out Maisky's cello during the closing chords.

This is one of my very few "favorite" DG recordings, because of the size of the venue and the proximity of the microphones. The Recital Hall at SUNY-Purchase yields an intimate (but roomy enough) acoustic, rather than one of a cavernous auditorium.
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One can often not really account for individual tastes and preferences, as the wide variance in the reviews below demonstrate. Let me add my voice to the mix: As a professional cellist, I find that although Mr. Maisky's technique is admirable, he tends to exaggerate phrases to the point of grotesque caricature. Too many contrasts, too sweet, too much rubato, etc.
On the other hand, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra does a fine job with the difficult Souvenir de Florence; for the most part I hear none of the muddiness of which another reviewer complains, and the tempos and excitement leave you on the edge of your seat. I find myself skipping the other tracks on this CD. While it is true that something of the character of the piece changes when a sextet is modified to be performed by a larger ensemble, I find the changes here (occasional doubling by the bass of the 2nd cello part, a few quieter sections played by smaller sub-groups by way of providing contrast) are effective.
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Format: Audio CD
I second the praise for Maisky's version of the Rococo Var., which he plays with panache and lightness, backed up -- for once -- by an equally light orchestral accompaniment. Bringing the piece down in scale from the overblown proportions of, say, Rostropovich and Karajan, great as they are, makes musical sense. The cello speaks quqietly in real life, and it sounds natural to set it in more intimate surroundings.

But for me the real delight on this CD was the performance of Souvenir de Florence in its frequently enoucntered expansion from string sextet to string orchestra. The Orpheus strings play with great virtuosity, particularly in the racing finale, which they take faster than anyone else and yet, amazingly enough, bring out even more countrpoint and inner detail. DG's engineering is crystal clear -- not the easiest thing to accommplish with string orchestras -- adding to the overall impressiveness of another excellent Orphes outing.
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Format: Audio CD
Sextet in D (called Souvenir De Florence) was written as a sextet. Here it is performed by a rather large string orchestra. The original clarity, drama and brilliance of the sextet is compromised. The fugues are hardly decernable. Nowhere on the Amazon.com page or liner notes of the CD is this fact explained. The Sextet version is far superior to this muddy string orchestra presentation, so I returned the CD as unacceptable. The Rocco Variations and other pieces on this CD are acceptable, but not outstanding.
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