Tchaikovsky: Hamlet & Romeo and Juliet

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Romeo and Juliet
Vladimir Jurowski, conductor
Pentatone 5186330
Purchase via RNO Pentatone Music iTunes


Recording of the Month, Gramophone Magazine (March 2009)



A major contribution to the discography of Russian music... It demonstrates Tchaikovsky's talent with melody as well as his dramatic genius... The orchestra is precise to the millimeter, every color in its palette discernible. The recording has beautiful sonics and will be instrumental in the rediscovery of these works.

Opus Haute définition

Here is a recording of the very first order... Vladimir Jurowski excels once again with a reading of the score that is without concession. His conducting is precise, powerful, without grandiloquence, and offers ideal orchestral balance. Colors are displayed with a stunning science and the pure DSD recording allows the instumental tones to blossom in a most pertinent musical discourse. It has been a long time since Tchaïkovsky's music has "sounded" like this. Without any hesitation, this Super Audio can also be called "miraculous"...

What an outstanding release this is. Everything is just about as good as it gets. How satisfying things can be, not just in the world of music, when everything just seems to fall neatly into place.... the sound quality is as good as I have ever heard from PentaTone... Horns and brass are treated well, cleanly and very clearly and the performances are seemingly excellent... this particularly fine release easily earns my top recommendation.

The playing is so precise, delicate and powerful that one is almost agog at the standard of musicianship on display…the solo woodwind players (particularly the oboe and bassoon principals) deserve a special credit for their simply delightful phrasing and sense of musicality. Not that they are alone, for the rest of the orchestra is inspired by Jurowski into loving playing of beautiful music….The standards set by Pentatone are once again raised for themselves for this marks a new level of clarity that they have achieved from the DZZ Studio 5 for the RNO. The subtlety and impact of the percussion is tangible and one can almost "see" the seating of the string sections, so clear is the delineation. Bravo - an essential disc for all lovers of Tchaikovsky's music.


Think you know your Tchaikovsky? Think again. Jurowski and the Russian National Orchestra have returned to the original version of the Romeo and Juliet Overture, pairing it with the incidental music to Hamlet and the revised theatre version of the Hamlet Overture. The results are fascinating.... Jurowski and his forces offer playing of drive and passion.... Ophelia is more than ever at the heart of the piece, her plaintive oboe melody very much dominating this version and exquisitely played - as is everything - by the Russian National Orchestra, whose refinement has opened a new chapter in Russian orchestral playing.

International Record Review

Vladimir Jurowski invests the music with a cool nobility... Jurowski's deft, Mendelssohnian approach [to Hamlet] makes the best possible case for a theatre orchestra presentation of this subtly crafted score.... Jurowski's Russian National Orchestra clearly has [Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet] in its collective blood and plays with admirable subtlety and finesse.

Classical CD Review

...state-of-the-art sonics and brilliant performances. [The] vocal parts are...expertly sung by Monogarova and Mikhailov... a fascinating release.

Classics Today (France)

...original, brilliant and perfectly directed... A major Russian disc.

Classics Today

...colorful, tuneful, atmospheric, and utterly characteristic. It's also played to the hilt and magnificently recorded... This is clearly the best recording of the 1869 original [Romeo and Juliet] to date: it's taut and exciting, and Jurowski lets the cymbals, bass drum, and timpani go nuts at all the right places. Here, then, is a terrific disc to fill out your [Tchaikovsky] collection.

All Music Guide

...these are truly first-rate performances... The Russian National Orchestra responds to Jurowski's direction with passion and panache...

The winning partnership of PentaTone, Vladimir Jurowski and the Russian National Orchestra has yielded a superlative SACD that is as matchless sonically as it almost is in musical rarity value.... Jurowski’s subtly nuanced account of every piece is enthralling and evinces the conductor’s deep identification with, and enthusiasm for, this music.... the recording quality on this disc is, even by PentaTone’s exacting standards, outstanding. The strings of the RNO soar with a glowing richness while the brass, timpani and percussion make a tremendous impact. For all lovers of Tchaikovsky’s music this is a disc not to be missed.

What They’re Saying

"In a modern classical world, rife with reports of under-funded and dying ensembles, curtailed schedules and shrinking audiences, the foundation and continued growth of [the Russian National Orchestra] seems not only miraculous; it just may be the most important cultural story of our time."

International Piano