Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

TCHAIKOVSKY Suites for orchestra

Suites Nos. 1-4 [1878-84]
New Philharmonia Orchestra / Antal Dorati

Decca 478 1708
The Originals [2cds at mid-price]

If you are one of many who prefer Tchaikovsky the ballet composer to the symphonist, this will be for you.

Tchaikowsky turned to the Suite as a rest from the formal demands of symphonic music. However, the first begins with a powerful fugal movement before relaxing into a divertimento and a series of movements not unlike some of The Nutcracker.

The four suites are varied, the second consisting of short character pieces.

The third is grander, with a final Theme & Variations which has had a concert life on its own. And the last of the four is a tribute to Mozart, with delectable orchestral transcriptions of piano pieces.

In strong contrast with the ill advised and unsatisfactory re-issue of Haydn's opera (nothing wrong with Dorati's conducting of them, nor with the singers, but deplorable presentation) this is in every way a splendid re-release. Their LP provenance is made a virtue in this The Originals series, reminding us of the look of the original LPs, recorded in 1966. The digital transfers are fine and the performances with the New Philharmonoa Orchestra alert and idiomatic, with well-remembered soloists Hugh Bean and Colin Bradbury making their mark.

Recommended unreservedly.

Peter Grahame Woolf