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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 5 in E minor Op. 64 (1888)
Andante - Allegro con anima
Andante cantabile, con alcuna licenza
Valse: Allegro moderato
Finale: Andante maestoso - Allegro vivace
Francesca da Rimini Op. 32 (1876), Fantasy for orchestra after Dante
Conductor: Mikhail Pletnev
Part of the RNO's Tchaikovsky Cycle
Disc of the Month, BBC Music Magazine (Oct 2011)
PTC 5186 385 (2011)

Acclaim for Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5

Strongly recommended
"A recording to savour... Outstanding playing and conducting. The recording is fully up to the best of Pentatone's house standard; rich, detailed with marvellously good placing of all the instruments that build up to a coherent and cohesive sonic picture. Strongly recommended..." (June 2012) [more]

Delicious and Detailed
"There is so much to admire here... Details are invariably surprising... Rubatos, too, are elegantly turned, the phrasing eminently pianistic in that it is so quick of reflex. Of course, it takes an orchestra of extraordinary dexterity to pull off these subtly shifting nuances – and the Russian National Orchestra is extraordinarily responsive. Their playing is chamber-like in inflection, just writ larger. Is there a more graceful or deftly articulate account of the third-movement Valse on disc than this?"

Gramophone (November 2011)

"The Russian National Orchestra is in full cry, microscopically detailing this vividly descriptive work and attending enthusiastically to Mikhail Pletnev's dramatic view of the music... This seasoned and spontaneous performance, superbly played, bristles with incident and closes tempestuously and with percussion-led devastation... With wonderful, audiophile-quality sound, faithfully reporting Pletnev's pristine balances, this release breathes new life into music that can all too easily become commonplace with over-frequent exposure."

International Record Review (November 2011)

Disc of the Month
"...this is an inspired performance, both purposeful... and fully alive to the music's emotional thrust... Pletnev convincingly builds his performance around one key climax in each movement... Yet Pletnev and his orchestra never skimp on characterization. Their performance of Tchaikovsky's very Lisztian tone poem, Francesca da Rimini, proves not only an excellent showcase for the Russian National Orchestra's razor-sharp ensemble, but is also a brilliant realisation of Tchaikovsky's theatrical portrayal of Dante's hell... In the central section there is real warmth and sympathy in Pletnev's (and Tchaikovsky's) portrayal of the condemned lovers, most seductively drawn by strings and woodwind."

BBC Music Magazine (October 2011) [more]

"Pletnev and his Russian National Orchestra deliver an outstanding performance of this great masterpiece...Pletnev's control over his orchestra is not heavy-handed and the RNO does an outstanding job in delivering a near reference performance... The sound quality produced on this disc is definitely reference quality."

HiFi+ (July 2011)

"Pletnev's account of the symphony's opening movement... allow[s] appreciation of the orchestra's polished phrasing of Tchaikovsky's wonderful melodies and the rich recorded sound....Pletnev gives the movement its full emotional weight with some distinguished solos from each of the Russian National Orchestra's woodwind principals....The recorded sound... is opulent. Erdo Groot has once again achieved a wonderfully realistic sound picture that complements Pletnev's judicious balancing of the orchestra. Recommended." (July 2011) [more]

"Pletnev and his band take a no-holds-barred approach..., matching Tchaikovsky mood for mood.... The performance has nothing of the routine about it, and overall there's a feeling of freshness that's hard to instill in a warhorse such as this.... Pletnev and his band turn in a virtuoso performance [of Francesca da Rimini]... I would place this Francesca among the best performances I've heard. PentaTone's studio recording is close, detailed, and highly impactive yet atmospheric at the same time, very much a match for Pletnev's bigger-than-life conception of these works."

Audiophile Audition (July 2011)

"Performances [of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony] will live or die on how successfully maestro and orchestra build up momentum.... Suffice it to say, Pletnev does this to complete and utter perfection. This conductor's pacing is just as superb in the companion piece, Francesca da Rimini...."

Audio Video Club of Atlanta (July 2011)

What They’re Saying

"I saw the greatest orchestra in the world play Friday night. If you think that's hyperbole, ask anyone who was in Yardley Hall that night. The Russian National Orchestra is the Rolls-Royce of orchestras, no ordinary ensemble."

The Kansas City Star