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Reviews: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 1, Marche Slave - Pletnev

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Reviews: 3

Site review by Polly Nomial February 3, 2012
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Site review by Castor February 4, 2012
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Review by hiredfox March 6, 2012 (11 of 15 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
There is something quite magical about DZZ Studio No 5 in Moscow. It's not that it has a particularly spectacular acoustic but instruments sound totally accurate and natural in that environment. Obviously some pretty impressive sound engineering has been deployed over the years to achieve this.

Roger de Schot and Erdo Groot have taken every advantage of those benefits to produce - what to me seems like - one of the most impressive pieces of recording by Polyhymnia on SACD yet. I cannot fault this recording although dubtless other members with a recording background may take issue.

This symphony is problematic not least because of it's youthful immaturity with the overall structure being somewhat vague. The first two movements were given titles and seem to have been intended to be programmatic so offers a clue to listening whilst the Sherzo is upbeat and tuneful. The finale can be where all the trouble starts effectively having five discrete sections that have to be held together without losing momentum. I remember from years ago a descriptive in "Gramophone" that the Finale was "always capable of outstaying it's welcome"!

Perhaps, understandably it has been a relatively neglected work in competition with the 4th, 5th & 6th.

With Pletnev in more robust and committed form this time and the RNO at it's technically brilliant best this turns out to be a fine performance and arguably the best of this series so far. There are some concerns over pacing in the opening two movements but elsewhere Pletnev builds tension and rhythms nicely and generally speaking there is a nice flow to the music. The low spot for me is in the 'finale' where an over-long section pause after the 'allegro maestoso' seems to hinder momentum just when everything was hotting up nicely. nevertheless he recovers the momentum and fiishes on a high.

Marche Slave follows briskly and provides some sweet tasting icing on the cake.

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