Gayaneh, Masquerade and Spartacus excerpts. TCHAIKOVSKY: Eugene Onegin, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty excerpts. BORODIN: Polovtsian Dances.
VIVALDI: The Four
Seasons. Concertos Op. 8 Nos. 5 and 6.
MAHLER: Symphony No.
6 in A Minor "Tragic"
The generous Delos program of Russian favorites is played by a smallish-sounding orchestra recorded in an overly-reverberant hall, opening with "Sabre Dance" from Khachaturian's Gayaneh, a performance marred by imprecise orchestral playing. The "Spiritual Revival Choir of Moscow," bathed in echo, assists in Borodin's Polovtsian Dances. The overall effect is not unpleasing, but less resonance would have resulted in more instrumental definition.
Vivaldi's most famous violin concertos, the first four of his Op. 8, known as The Four Seasons, are given rather rough treatment in this performance by Massimo Quarta. Although the violinist has quite impressive credentials, his tone is wiry, even in the super-resonant acoustic of the studio in which this recording was made. Even with inclusion of two other Vivaldi concertos, the playing time of this CD is less than one hour.
There's high emotion in this live performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 6, recorded Sept. 12-15, 2001. It's the first in a five-year project to record all Mahler symphonies with MTT and the San Francisco Orchestra. Thomas' interpretation is rather low in tension compared with Solti or Bernstein, but consistently impressive, and recorded in 5 channel sound with rich concert hall ambience - and not a trace of an audience. Two full-priced CDs are required, and there is no filler. Although pricey, this is a fine issue in what promises to be a memorable series.