Tchaikovsky: Ballet Music
Tchaikovsky: Ballet Music
Gramophone Young Artist of the Year in 2007, Vasily Petrenko has been lighting up the podium and winning wide-spread accolades since he became Principal Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in 2006, the youngest in the orchestra’s 165-year history. His first recording for AVIE was a rare double-bill of Russian operas – Rothschild’s Violin by Fleishman and Shostakovich’s The Gamblers (AV 2096). He follows up with more Russian fare, though of a lighter, more popular nature – excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s ballets Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.
The Nutcracker Ballet, Op. 71 (excerpts)
Swan Lake, Op. 20 (excerpts)
Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66 (excerpts)
“Vasily Petrenko demonstrates his qualities in choice selections from Tchaikovsky’s masterful ballet scores, characterising every moment while his orchestra brings their colours to vibrant life.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2010
“Vasily Petrenko was a shrewd choice of principal conductor for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. His promise is clear, his reputation growing. These bonbons from the Tchaikovsky ballets don’t offer too many surprises in terms of choice (except perhaps the exclusion of the “Rose Adagio” from Sleeping Beauty) but they do clearly demonstrate the difference Petrenko is already making to the quality of the RLPO playing.
Essentially it’s a personalisation process where the articulation of the wind voices (listen, for instance, to the “Entrée” from the Bluebird Pas de quatre in Sleeping Beauty) takes on a really idiomatic colour and cast and the string-playing sounds freer and fuller. Petrenko’s watchwords are shape and purpose and clarity; there is an elegance and inner life to the playing making everything sound freshly minted. The three great waltzes are pivotal, of course, and they glide across Tchaikovsky’s imperial ballroom with all due suavity and opulence.
The Swan Lake highlights wipe the floor with Gergiev’s pale showing in the complete ballet (Decca): the nobility of the horns emblazoned across the opening Scene, the swagger and sophistication of the national dances with a brilliant trumpet solo in the Danse napolitaine and a delightfully folksy lilt to the contrasting Trio of the Mazurka.
The climactic modulation of the Lilac Fairy’s spellbinding pronouncement that love will redeem all is nailed with all the assurance of a young master, but what is thus far missing if you compare someone like Rostropovich in this music (his Sleeping Beauty highlights with the Berlin Philharmonic on DG are simply sensational) is the stamp of real temperament, a daring born of long and intimate familiarity. Give him time. All the signs are favourable.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“These bonbons from the Tchaikovsky ballets…clearly demonstrate the difference Petrenko is already making to the quality of the RLPO playing. Petrenko’s watchwords are shape and purpose and clarity; there is an elegance and inner life to the playing making everything sound freshly minted. The Swan lake highlights wipe the floor with Gergiev’s pale showing in the complete ballet the nobility of the horns emblazoned across the opening Scene, the swagger and sophistication of the national dances… and a delightfully folksy lilt to the contrasting Trio of the Mazurka.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2008