Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake
Music Web International
All sections of the Russian National Orchestra play with immense virtuosity and cope with their conductor's demands with admirable aplomb and Ondine's technical team, headed by Rainer Maillard, has certainly produced a spectacular and glittering recording.
Pletnev's reading offers a vision of this classic which the orchestra delivers with perfection... Pletnev ably handles the music's multiple episodes, spinning and waltzing with delicacy and passion... the perfect sonics capture the orchestra's beautiful colors... this double disc is musically superb and technically impeccable - a new benchmark...
The match between the music of Tchaikovsky and Pletnev needs no further proof… Pletnev's Tchaikovsky is truly noble, avoiding the trap of excessive emotion… The tonal balance is exemplary… An authoritative version that joins the ranks of the reference recordings.
Full strings, lush and radiant - but never overblown - brass, lovely woodwinds and powerful, but never noisy percussion... Each piece stands as an example of superb balance between the Russian National Orchestra's enormous energy and dazzling colors, and its finely tuned sections. This complete Swan Lake recording evokes intellect, emotion and imagination. The recording quality is full of presence, depth and a wide dynamic range... Great. [Artistic quality: 10; Sound Quality: 10; Overall impression: 10]
Given the loss of so much fine music, it's understandable that most conductors, Mikhail Pletnev included, tend to prefer Tchaikovsky's original. With his Russian National Orchestra on devastating form, Pletnev does it supremely well... he's particularly good at all those slightly sinister character dances in the third act and at whipping up a tragic frenzy as Siegfried and Odette face death at the end. It's a superb achievement...
Right from the first act's initial Allegro giusto, with its tight and vivacious string ensemble, it's clear that this will be an excellent performance... Pletnev's treatment of the brass and percussion in the final apotheosis is as intelligent as it gets... The sonics are also very good — vivid and slightly dry — and suit the interpretation quite well. In short, this is a performance that ballet lovers and Tchaikovsky fans alike can appreciate and enjoy without hesitation.
Classical CD Review
There's not a dull moment in this version of Swan Lake, and the Russian orchestra has the right sound and virtuosity to do justice to it. Ondine's engineering is superb—a quality issue!
Classical Music Sentinel
an outstanding, full-blooded orchestral rendition with everything except the thump of point shoes landing on the boards... The RNO is in stupendous form under its founding conductor and Ondine presents a spectacular sound stage... For pure excitement and powerful orchestral articulation, this version of Swan Lake sweeps the board.
...a highly dramatic and very fast-paced performance, filled with plenty of vigor, energy, color, and contrast. The score requires more pathos and bathos than depth and profundity, and Pletnev elicits from the Russian musicians a sweetly soulful and wholly polished performance... Ondine's sound is clean and lush, with plenty of detail.