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Classical - Released January 11, 2019 | PentaTone

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Classical - Released January 1, 1996 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2010 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Booklet
Deutsche Grammophon's 2010 reissue of Mikhail Pletnev's recordings of the symphonies and major orchestral works of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky is a seven-disc trimline box set that presents the music in a logical fashion and meets expectations of what this admired conductor can do. Pletnev leads the Russian National Orchestra with confidence and clearheaded thinking, and his interpretations of Tchaikovsky definitely lean to the rational side of Romanticism: as passionate and emotional as the works are in the public imagination, Pletnev always remembers that Tchaikovsky was at heart a classicist, so he is careful not to neglect the formal concerns and gracefulness of melody that are the soul of the music. These works are at their finest in their lyrical passages, and Pletnev appears to appreciate the eloquence of Tchaikovsky's themes somewhat more than his dramatic writing, for there is a noticeable emphasis on orchestral detail in the softer passages, and he takes great care with the most delicate supporting lines. Even so, there is enough red blood in the symphonies' fast movements to please those who come to Tchaikovsky for fire, and the overtures and other works for orchestra, such as the explosive 1812 Overture, provide ample energy and excitement. Each CD contains one symphony and a filler work, so there are no inconvenient breaks of works between movements, and the unnumbered "Manfred" Symphony is also included, along with the less famous tone poems. DG's exceptional sound in these recordings from the 1990s is as clean and crisp as anyone could wish. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2007 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released September 13, 2004 | Decca (UMO)

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Classical - Released July 6, 2018 | PentaTone

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In January 1936, Shostakovitch put the final touches to his Fourth Symphony, when the doleful bell sounded which would become famous as Pravda's "Chaos in the Place of Music" article, dictated by the dastardly Stalin, who hadn't enjoyed the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Not fancying a thirty-year holiday in Siberia (or a trip to the mortuary), the composer finished his symphony, in fear of hearing the midnight knock at the door from the terrible NKVD, the forerunners of the KGB. He started rehearsals, but in the end he withdrew the work from the billing on some lame pretext, stuck it in a drawer, and forgot about it... For a quarter of a century, until 1961, when it was finally performed. It is one of the bitterest, darkest, most sinister works by Shostakovitch, who was not short of such pieces, and it is not hard to imagine that for Stalin it might have been the straw that broke the camel's back. Stalin would, quite involuntarily, assist in the creation of the Tenth Symphony, as it was written in the wake of the beast's death, in 1953. To be sure, this work was hardly lighter than the Fourth and the central Scherzo is one of those raging, brutal moments for which Shostakovitch is so well-known; but the third movement, terrifically lyrical, blows away the clouds of the second, with the famous DSCH signature theme, which seems to open a new era. The Russian National Orchestra, founded in 1990 by pianist and conductor Mikhail Pletnev – winner of the first prize in the 1978 Tchaikovsky Competition, and who conducts this recording – is very much at work in their element here. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 1, 2011 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Booklet
After his enormously popular piano concertos and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (which are always among the most performed concert works), the most admired of Sergey Rachmaninov's large-scale orchestral compositions are his symphonies No. 1-3, the Symphonic Dances, The Isle of the Dead, The Rock, and the choral symphony, The Bells. They are imbued with the composer's characteristically brooding expressions, rich harmonies, and somber, mysterious themes, and their place among the great post-Romantic masterpieces is unchallenged today, despite a period in the mid-20th century when critical opinion was sometimes unkind. This box set is a good response to any rigid prejudices because Mikhail Pletnev's performances with the Russian National Orchestra do full justice to Rachmaninov's music and make the case for his skills as a symphonic composer. Yet Rachmaninov's orchestration is occasionally problematic because it is often dense and situated in the orchestra's middle range, so it takes a conductor of considerable ability to draw out the lines and make the counterpoint as transparent as possible. Pletnev does this with consistency, so the orchestra plays with precision and focused sound, and the textures are further clarified by Deutsche Grammophon's excellent recording. But even more important than the fine sound of the recordings are the sympathetic readings, which show Pletnev to have a thorough knowledge and emotional connection to this composer, which is vital in communicating the spiritual essence of his music. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2004 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released February 1, 1999 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released September 9, 2016 | Unclassified

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Concertos - Released February 1, 2011 | Warner Classics International

A complete recording of Alexander Glazunov's concertos, including related works for solo instrument and orchestra, might have seemed an unpromising undertaking; except for the Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82, and the Saxophone Concerto in E flat major, Op. 109, these works are not often played, at least outside Russia. On hearing the results, you're prepared to credit the major Warner Classics & Jazz label for taking a chance on an unorthodox project. Then you learn something still more surprising: according to Uruguayan conductor José Serebrier, who contributes an elegant set of booklet notes to the CD release, he was initially approached by the label, not vice versa. He was skeptical about the whole idea but warmed to it as he reviewed Glazunov's music. Someone had very good instincts indeed: Serebrier by the time this disc was issued had recorded a good deal of Glazunov with various groups, and he seems to be in the middle of a one-man campaign to rehabilitate the composer's reputation. His booklet notes name-check Bach and Mahler as composers who took a long time to be rediscovered, and the amazing thing is that by the time you're through with this album you'll be ready to sign on to the missionary endeavor. The key here seems to be that hearing a lot of Glazunov attunes the listener to his musical language, which due to its tonal orientation and sober manner has unfairly been tagged with the C-word: conservative. All these concertos share a sectional architecture, with rapid shifts in tempo that relax into gorgeous lyrical episodes and come together into big finales. The structure can be deployed to approximate the classical three-movement concerto form, or tweaked into the variation set that makes up the second and final movement of the Piano Concerto No. 1 in F minor, Op. 82. And at the micro level, the structure is highly variable. Glazunov's rhythmic sense is as subtle as those of composers who referred to complex mathematical models, and the range of relationships between solo instrument and orchestra is vast. Serebrier, well into his eighth decade when this album was recorded in Moscow, leads a Russian National Orchestra for whom this music is bred in the bone, and he finds a quintet of young soloists, violinist Rachel Barton Pine, pianist Alexander Romanovsky, cellist Wen-Sinn Yang, saxophonist Marc Chisson, and French hornist Alexey Serov, who get the performance traditions involved in the msuic and deliver its ravishing melodies with enthusiasm and passion. A superb, even groundbreaking effort all around. © TiVo
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Classical - Released July 1, 2010 | Warner Classics International

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Classical - Released July 1, 2010 | Warner Classics International

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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released February 1, 1999 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Ballets - Released February 23, 2010 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
This 2010 recording of Tchaikovsky's eternally popular Swan Lake ballet, with Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra might be ideal for dancing, but it is less ideal purely as a listening experience. On the whole, and in most of its parts, theirs is a highly dramatic and very fast-paced performance, filled with plenty of vigor, energy, color, and contrast. The score requires more pathos and bathos than depth and profundity, and Pletnev elicits from the Russian musicians a sweetly soulful and wholly polished performance. But this version misses the lightness and buoyancy of Gennady Rozhdestvensky's classic account of the work, a performance that sacrifices none of the work's drama, and allowing it space to dance. Pletnev's recording has many virtues, though, and the listener may find a place on the shelf for both his and Rozhdestvensky's versions. Ondine's sound is clean and lush, with plenty of detail. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 6, 2011 | Ondine

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Classical - Released September 13, 2004 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released August 25, 2014 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2001 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)