Russian National Orchestra

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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 4 in F minor Op. 36 (1877)
Andante sostenuto – Moderato con anima
Andantino in modo di canzone
Scherzo – Pizzicato ostinato : Allegro
Finale : Allegro con fuoco
Romeo and Juliet
Overture – Fantasia (Final version of 1880)
Conductor: Mikhail Pletnev

Part of the RNO's Tchaikovsky Cycle
PTC 5186384 (2011)

Acclaim for Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4

"I move this performance to the head of the class... Polyhymnia engineer Erdo Groot and his associates create probably the best sound quality of any Tchaikovsky 4th I am aware of. [Pletnev] has created a tight, very insightful reading that is sure to please even the most discerning collectors of this great composer. Most highly recommended."

HiFi+ (June 2011)

"Both [Symphony No. 4 and Romeo and Juliet] are given dynamic readings, and the Russian orchestra is in top shape... Audio is wide range, full and satisfying... a first-class issue."

Classical CD Review (June 2011) [more]

"Pletnev brings a winning simplicity to the opening melody of the Andantino second movement, and the gear change to the faster middle section is negotiated with skill and eloquence.... the playing is brilliant."

BBC Music Magazine (June 2011)

Five Stars
"Pletnev pulls it all together in a way that is convincing, lyrical, tender, and downright exciting. The RNO plays with vibrancy and color.... Romeo and Juliet fares just as well, this tried and true warhorse getting a firm injection of passion and energy that is in no way artificial or contrived, full of splendor and beauty like few others."

Audiophile Audition (May 2011)

"Mikhail Pletnev leads the Russian National Orchestra in passionate and powerful performances…and conjures compellingly direct accounts that are full-blooded, subtle and finely detailed…. Romeo and Juliet is not less absorbing, dramatic and thrilling… these are remarkably spontaneous, fiery and wholesome performances, which benefit from first-class, audiophile-worthy recording. On its own terms, this PentaTone release sweeps one away."

International Record Review (May 2011)

New RNO recording full of emotion, drama
"The first recording by the Russian National Orchestra, made just a year after Mikhail Pletnev founded the ensemble in 1990, was a gorgeously played and emotionally revelatory reading of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 that instantly placed Pletnev and the RNO in the forefront of modern interpreters of this composer. This new recording keeps them there. From the opening proclamation of the “fate” motif on burnished brass, through a first movement handled with tone-poem flair so its episodic nature makes perfect sense, Pletnev shows his clear understanding of and empathy for Tchaikovsky's music... The second movement provides nice balance, rocking gently and not wallowing in the emotionalism of the first. It is followed by a quicksilver, wonderfully buoyant pizzicato Scherzo that flits and dances hither and yon, enfolding a rollicking Trio in which the woodwind playing is outstanding. Then the finale bursts like thunder on the scene, with Pletnev's pacing and the excellent playing of the scurrying strings and dramatic brass combining to produce a thrilling and highly dramatic conclusion. From the start to the final tragic ending, this is a dramatic, lovingly crafted and insightful performance by musicians who seem to feel the music as well as understand it."

Washington Post (March 2011) [more]

"The Russian National Orchestra strings are so fine, the wonderful lightness, the delicacy, the color that Pletnev gets from the strings -- and at the same time so soft, and so disciplined.. The Russian National is a super-orchestra and on this disc Pletnev gets the most out of them... Pletnev has a great skill at crafting the Tchaikovsky climaxes, with a great deal of emotion."

BBC Radio 3 (April 2011) [more]

"...an outstandingly warm, rich and detailed sound in both the symphony and the Romeo and Juliet Overture that I have yet to hear bettered… Strings have a silky smoothness and the burnished tone of the weighty RNO brass is reproduced with vivid realism while the cymbals…have a thrillingly crisp metallic timbre just as they have in live performances… This is an account of the symphony to be reckoned with… [Romeo and Juliet] makes a splendid adjunct to the symphony… the orchestral playing is thrilling, and Pletnev gives the sweeping lyricism of the 'love music' its head without becoming too overly emotional... This disc marks an auspicious start to Pletnev's new Tchaikovsky cycle, and with a recording quality that really deserves more than the maximum 5 stars, it makes one eager for the next installment to appear."

SA-CD.net (March 2011) [more]

"At the podium of the Russian National Orchestra, of which he has been director since its formation in 1990, Mikhail Pletnev begins his second traversal of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies with an appropriately stirring account of Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36... Throughout this 40-minute symphony, Pletnev paces the tempi and the articulation of musical phrases so well that the work belies its length... In Pletnev’s hands, this... symphonic warhorse glistens once again with youthful vitality."

Atlanta Audio society (March 2011) [more]

"Mikhail Pletnev has a strong reputation in the music of Tchaikovsky [and this] recording of the Fourth clearly shows how well-deserved that reputation is. From the opening proclamation of the “fate” motif on burnished brass, through a first movement handled with tone-poem flair so its length does not seem ungainly and its episodic nature makes perfect sense, Pletnev shows his clear understanding of and empathy for Tchaikovsky's music... The finale bursts like thunder on the scene, with Pletnev's pacing and the excellent playing of the Russian National Orchestra combining to produce a thrilling and highly dramatic conclusion... [The Romeo and Juliet] is a lovingly crafted and insightful performance by musicians who seem to feel the music as well as understand it. When it comes to Tchaikovsky's music, Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra are clearly the equals of any classic partnership."

InfoDad (March 2011) [more]