TCHAIKOVSKY: Swan Lake (Ballet in Four Acts)
Russian State Symphony Orch/Dmitry Yablonsky, cond.
NAXOS 6.110005-06 (2 SACDs) TT: 148:38 (5 channel)
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BACH: Suite No. 1 in C, BWV 1066. Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067. Suite No. 3 in D, BWV 1068. Suite No. 4 in D, BWV 1069.
Boston Baroque/Martin Pearlman, cond.
TELARC SACD 60619 TT: 73:32 (5.1 channel)
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Both of these are outstanding in every way. Telarc's CD offers all four orchestral suites of Bach in splendid performances by Boston Baroque, a 26-member period instrument group founded by Martin Pearlman.that has been around for more than two decades. Already they have to their credit many superb recordings including a magnificent surround sound SACD of Handel's Water Music and Royal Fireworks Music (REVIEW). Although played on period instruments, in these performances there is none of the stringent, grating sound often associated with them. Telarc's engineering could not be bettered: we hear the sound of an orchestra performing in a fine, resonant hall.

Naxos' Swan Lake has already been mentioned on this site (REVIEW). Now we have it in surround sound—and it is even more impressive as a listening experience. Yablonsky is a conductor of imagination and the Russian State Symphony (which gave its first concert in 1936) is in top form. The additional three channels (center, rear left-right) give a fullness and ambience to the overall sound, with the orchestra in front. It's odd that there is no sixth (low-frequency) channel, but there still is plenty of deep, low bass.

Both of these are highly recommended!

R.E.B. (May 2004)

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