Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty Original recording remastered
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Top Customer Reviews
I have collected ALL of the performances issued since the George Weldon mono recording from the mid-1950s, including the studio recording that followed this series of live BBC concerts (long out of print on Eurodisc). What makes this performance stand out is the sense of 'theater' that permeates every note. A conductor such as Gennadi Rozhdestvensky (who has led this work countless times) knows instinctively how each number need to be paced and set apart from each other. This is not just an academic exercise (or worse yet, a 'canned' performance done in the sterile environment of a studio away from the audience, dancers, and 'smell of greasepaint'); it is an approach that is essential to a buildup of dramatic tension which in turn makes each act seem like a logical sequence of pieces instead of a hodgepodge of tunes.
Forgive me if I sound like a zealot, but there is something conveyed in a live performance that makes it distinctive and unique. In the hands of a quality orchestra (and the BBC SO of 1979 was certainly one of the best at the time), there is a spontanaeous, fresh quality to the playing that makes up for the acceptable recording quality (excellent FM stereo quality if lacking in depth, and the occasional cough or audience rustle).
It is exactly this sense of anticipation, drama and direction that I found lacking in the DGG/Pletnev performance.Read more ›
There are better played and recorded versions (e.g., Dorati with the Concertgebouw on Philips), but this one is the most emotionally stirring. The liner note says that Rozhdestvensky mounted the podium 45 min. late, due to a bass trombonist who got stuck in central London traffic. He looked furious, but you'd never know it from what emerged. It would be worth seeking out the commerical recording that was made at the same time (Oct. 1979) to hear better sound. The BBC 3 engineers did a good job, but the microphones are far away, so there's reduced impact and inner detail. On the other hand, the added vitality of a concert performance is worth a lot, too.
The ballet fills two CDs instead of the usual three. No numbers are missing; seamless cuts were made to eliminate repetiiton in some of the longer dances in Act III and to a lesser extent Act II. Overall, this is as close to an ideal Sleeping Beauty as I've ever heard, lacking only up-to-date sound.
I cannot reccomend this recording highly enough. It's a MUST HAVE for your collection.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I heard some of this --not all. I found it too fast and rushed in several parts, which made it irritating. Read morePublished on October 2, 2009 by dana m
Like many of you, I read the various reveiws of this recording before purchase. It seemed to loved or hated with some quibbling over omitted sections. Read morePublished on February 24, 2009 by I. Beavis
Absolutely the ultimate Sleeping Beauty, as played as concert music, not for dancing. If you just want to revel in the beauty of the score, order this!
This recording of "The Sleeping Beauty" was taken live at a BBC concert in 1979. It is well-engineered and very well-played. Read morePublished on June 22, 2008 by LD400RN