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Cat. No. CHSA 5113(2) Price: £23 No. of discs: 2
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CHSA 5113 - Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty
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Available From: 01 December 2012
Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty

This two-album set marks the beginning of a new project devoted to Tchaikovsky’s ballet scores. We start the survey with the complete score of The Sleeping Beauty, recorded on SACD. Swan Lake and The Nutcracker will follow in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
 
Tchaikovsky was approached by the Director of the Imperial Theatres in St Petersburg, Ivan Vsevolozhsky, in 1888 about a possible ballet adaptation of Charles Perrault’s La Belle au bois dormant (The Sleeping Beauty). The vision was to stage the production in the style of Louis XIV, allowing the musical fantasy to run high and melodies to be written in the spirit of Lully, Bach, and Rameau. This proposal for a fairy-tale ballet rooted firmly in both the rococo and baroque periods appealed to Tchaikovsky, and The Sleeping Beauty was premiered in 1890, with choreography by Petipa, the principal choreographer of his day.
 
Elaborately constructed, the ballet places its focus undeniably on the two main conflicting forces of good (the Lilac Fairy) and evil (Carabosse). Each has a representative leitmotif, which runs through the entire ballet, serving as an important thread to the underlying plot. Tchaikovsky’s use of what, at the time, were considered new and unorthodox instrumental combinations went on to inspire a new generation of composers, among them Stravinsky, who declared The Sleeping Beauty to be Tchaikovsky’s chef d’œuvre. 
 
The Sleeping Beauty is here performed by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Neeme Järvi, who is celebrating two major milestones this year: a thirty-year recording career with Chandos Records, and his own seventy-fifth birthday. Orchestra and conductor are joined by the pre-eminent violinist James Ehnes, one of the most dynamic and exciting performers in classical music today.
 
 

Reviews

“This is an outstanding recording of the complete ballet, one of the finest I’ve heard... Teh Bergen Philharmonic’s playing has a polish and sheen to it  ... Violinist James Ehnes and cellist Robert deMaine appear to have brought into play the susbstantial solos for their instruments and they fully match the playing of the orchestra. And Chandos’s hybrid SACD recorded sound surpasses them all, with a warm, clarity, and spaciousness that completely supports what the musicians have achieved.”
Lawrence Hansen – American Record Guide – May/June 2013 

“...The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra is magnificent, and the violin and cello solos are played gorgeously by James Ehnes and Robert deMaine respectively...”
Arthur Lintgen – Fanfare – May/June 2013

               Music ****(Very Good)      Sound ****(Very Good)

 

Thomas Schulz – Fono Forum magazine – May 2013   

"... if you are looking for an up-to-date Sleeping Beauty, Järvi’s will amply reward you..."
Peter J Rabinowitz - International Record Review - February 2013

“...making a list of the high spots is impossible; there are too many... James Ehnes and Robert deMaine have been parachuted in to play the big violin and cello solos, It’s all stunning – possibly one of the greatest ballet recordings ever made ... Unmissable.”
 
Graham Rickson – the artsdesk.com – 12 January 2013

                       Album of the Week

“... A Christmas treat.”
 
Hugh Canning – The Sunday Times – 23 December 2012
 

               Performance  ****      Recording *****

“The Bergen Philharmonic proves an ideal instrument for one of Tchaikovsky’s most magical scores. Neeme Järvi’s every demand is met with immaculate playing, recorded in a warm but not too resonant acoustic, and you are soon swept up by their characterful account of the prologue and Act I ... the wonderfully detailed playing of the waltz, that follows demonstrate the strengths of this performance ...”
 
Daniel Jaffé -  BBC Music magazine – February 2013

“...The playing is ravishing ... a couple of guest instrumentalists, James Ehnes and Robert deMaine, add real lustre to the concertante violin and cello solos respectively.” ***
 
Tim Ashley – The Guardian – 11 January 2013
 

 "...The complete score for Tchaikovsky’s the Sleeping Beauty comes from the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Neeme Jarvi ... Notably on this recording, the violin solos are played by the superb James Ehnes, a bonus indeed! The sound is spectacular..."
Peter Spaull - Liverpool Daily Post - 20 December 2012

"...This is a great work in a very fine performance beautifully recorded." 
 
Dave Billinge - MusicWeb-International.com - 11 January 2013
 

“This is a good, practical interpretation of The Sleeping Beauty. The playing by the Bergen Philharmonic is strong and spirited; Järvi’s conducting is rational, adopting as it does the natural pacings and colouristic inflections from which it is possible to appreciate the character of the dances in one’s mind’s eye, all the more so with the excellent synopsis included in the booklet ...”
 
Geoffrey Norris – Gramophone magazine – January 2013

 

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