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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5 in E minor; Francesca da Rimini
Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela/Gustavo Dudamel

Deutsche Grammophon 477 8022

Having impressed in London with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and, at a sensational Prom, with his Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, Gustavo Dudamel is returning this month to South Bank Centre for two concerts with the Philharmonia Orchestra. As a foretaste of his intense music making, here is a stupendous live recording from Caracas of Tchaikovsky.

Not one to go by halves, Dudamel's orchestral line-up on that occasion was based upon 96 strings, supported in the climaxes by 17 trumpets, 15 trombones. That extravagence can be a recipe for disaster, but not this time. These are terrific, involving accounts of Tchaikovsky, engineered superbly and (to our ears) eclipsing the earlier release of Fiesta, a studio recording of mostly South American music from Caracas, "lacking that final adrenalin rush that only a live audience can inspire" [The Times].

This will not disappoint and it rewarded a rare hearing of music we tend to avoid these days for over familiarity... There are still some tickets to be had for the Royal Festival Hall:
February 17: Estévez, Lalo & Prokofiev
and February 21: Mozart & Mahler

Try to be there !

Peter Grahame Woolf