Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony
BBC Music Magazine
Both conductor and orchestra are in fine form in Manfred, delivering an insightful and compelling reading that takes its place among the finest available recordings of this work... Pentatone's SACD recording captures all the intricate detail of Tchaikovsky's fabulous orchestration to spectacular effect, highlighting the distinctive timbres of the Russian National Orchestra with ominous low brass chords and gloomy and disoriented viola ostinatos at the outset, as well as terrifying piccolo runs at the final climax... Pletnev... generates tremendous high-voltage tension and hair-raising orchestral virtuosity in the bacchanal.
Pletnev's orchestra markedly unveils its talent during the final Allegro con fuoco. At this point Tchaikovsky lashes out with all sorts of instrumental weaponry giving the section true color and captivating hellish outcries. Pletnev's brass staccatos are excellent, the piccolo flares with pinpricks, the tambourines snap with sharpened fieriness...