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Symphony 5 / Romeo & Juliet Fantasy Overture Import

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, February 10, 2004
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. I. Andante - Allegro Con Anima
  2. II. Andante Catabile, Con Alcuna Licenza - Moderato Con Anima
  3. III. Valse: Allegro Moderato
  4. IV. Finale: Andante Maestoso - Allegro Vivace - Molto Vivace
  5. Fantasy Overture


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 10, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • ASIN: B00015WMFA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,822 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Congrats to Daniele Gatti and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra! Just when I thought that not much new could be brought to the table with Tchaikovsky's Fifth (there are so many recordings out there!), they came along and did it.

The irony is that Gatti delivers a fresh perspective by presenting the Fifth in a manner much closer to that which the composer intended. The tempi may seem brisk at first, but they more closely match Tchaikovsky's markings. The introduction, which is marked "Andante, Quarter Note = 80," is usually played much, much slower. And listen to how exciting the end of the first movement is when the orchestra continues to push forward rather than give in to the tradition of slowing down. Gatti also pays close attention to Tchaikovsky's dynamic markings, bringing out subtle, often overlooked, details and exploiting the composer's use of color and understanding of balance.

Gatti manages to bring out these subtleties in the score without causing the performance to sound micromanaged or stiff. There is much passion throughout, and the level of intensity is always high where appropriate. The climax in the second movement, though not overdone, is moving, and the many changes in thematic material in the fourth movement are brought together coherently.

Gatti is, of course, helped by the flawless playing of the Royal Philharmonic. Each section plays beautifully, and the group's sound, balance, intonation are exceptional. The big horn solo in the second movement is absolutely gorgeous.

The Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture is also played wonderfully.
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Format: Audio CD
I wanted to like Daniel Gatti's Tchaikovsky 5th more than I actually did. Considering the successes of the installments of the neighboring 4th and 6th symphonies, I was slightly disappointed. Still, this is a very good recording, just shy of great, that finds both Gatti and the Royal Philharmonic in their element.

If anything, what makes this recording so fine are Gatti's quick tempos, which enliven this all-too-familiar music with a sense of fresh spontaneity. The introduction to the allegro is appropriately rapt and somber but Gatti (rightfully) keeps the music from sounding lugubrious or heavy - this isn't a funeral dirge after all. This creates a great deal of tension that carries into the allegro proper, taken at a swift, but by no means hurried tempo. Gatti pays a great deal of attention to orchestral balance and to drawing our attention to the important aspects of the score. The bass line (especially the trombones) is always present, the horns and winds well balanced against each other, and the strings are warm and rich. There is, however, a certain homogeny of sound throughout that robs the music of its intrinsically Russian character. Furthermore, this timbral nuance is further exacerbated by Gatti's tendency to curb Tchaikovsky's emotionalism to excess. The rhythmic outbursts that close both the exposition and the recapitulation don't bite the way they should and the climax in the development lacks the frenzied energy necessary for the movement's success. The coda also suffers; Gatti smothers the crucial bassoon parts in lower strings, making a murky mess of the movement's close. On the other side of the interpretive spectrum, when Gatti tries to draw out the more typically emotional moments in the score, he does so tastelessly.
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