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Symphony 5 / Overture 1812

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 9, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

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The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is the star of this gloriously played and recorded disc. It would be nice to say that Daniel Barenboim has something earth-shattering to say in this music (he probably thinks so), but the truth is that this orchestra can play this music without an conductor, and that's what they seem to be doing. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. It's a fine performance; I just think the players deserve more credit than the guy on the podium. --David Hurwitz

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Symphony No.5 in E minor, Op.64: Andante - Allegro con anima
  2. Symphony No.5 in E minor, Op.64: Andante cantabile, con alcuna licenza
  3. Symphony No.5 in E minor, Op.64: Valse: Allegro moderato
  4. Symphony No.5 in E minor, Op.64: Finale: Andante maestoso - Allegro vivace
  5. Overture 1812, op.49


Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 9, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alliance
  • ASIN: B000000S8G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,047,852 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
In the liner notes to this CD, Daniel Barenboim speaks of how the Tchaikovsky's 5th "is a straightforwardly attractive piece [which is] presumably what disturbed Tchaikovsky". When asked by his interviewer if it is difficult for Chicago to play the work, he says, "It depends on the level on which you want to play the symphony. If it's only a question of conveying a general impression of the piece, with a certain brilliance and virtuosity, it's very easy, since technically speaking--in other words, in terms of sheer dexterity--it's not a problem for an orchestra of this class. But if you really want to bring out all the nuances it's not so easy."

He's certainly right. But does his talk line up with his actions? To an extent, yes. He's leading one of the world's most powerful orchestras and he wants it to sound that way. To his credit, Chicago sound mightier under Barenboim than with Claudio Abbado in his recording of the same piece. I hear lots of wonderful playing and Barenboim voices Chicago with authority. Hidden details come out with clarity, so Barenboim has succeeded in bringing out at least many of "all the nuances".

But I'm not sure that's all there is to the work. Barenboim is brisk and muscular, keeping interest, but I end up wondering if he relies too heavily on the sheer brilliance of Tchaikovsky's orchestration. The climaxes are brilliant, but always in an outward way. I don't hear much of Tchaikovsky's fits of depression and loneliness. And, of course, there are different degrees of power. Don't think for a moment than Barenboim matches Karajan for grandeur. Ultimately, I'm not sure that Barenboim does much more than wallow in the sound of a great orchestra, adding touches that spice up the orchestration.
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By Dave on August 26, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Barenboim isn't a great conductor, since he sometimes makes even the Chicago Symphony play in a sloppy manner, but the playing on this live recording is great! There are surprisingly few flaws, and there's a sense of excitement that comes from the energetic playing and Barenboim's nicely thought out phrasing and tempi. The recorded sound itself is clear and vibrant. The 1812 on this CD is very good as well, though it's not quite as good as Fritz Reiner's earlier take, also with the CSO.
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By A Customer on October 25, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Tchaikolvsky 5th is performed gracefully and at a nice pace, however there is way too much background noise, with people coughing and shuffling and moving around. However, the performance of the piece makes it almost worth it putting up with the noise factor.
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