Marin Alsop and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra give us a disc
of tried and true symphonic favorites in this recording of works by Tchaikovsky.
Little need be said about the music itself, other than that both works
were born with great difficulty, coming from a period of intense personal
crisis and struggle for the composer.
After listening three times to this disc, I was still
having some difficulties with my reactions to it. Of course, if one
is to present a new disc of repertoire that is as familiar as this,
itís a good idea to have a little something special to say about it.
I am not convinced that Ms. Alsop has the right temperament for this
To be sure, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra is one
of the tightest ensembles that I have heard in some time. They play
with a rhythmic precision that is stunning, and it is even more gratifying
since we know that most of this disc was recorded live. They play flawlessly,
and Ms. Alsop draws subtle shades and colors from them that are quite
Whereas the above-mentioned are excellent qualities,
I believe that they actually get in the way of these works. What I was
continually missing is any sense of give and take. Nor did I find any
bare bones passion in these interpretations. They were technically perfect,
tonally beautiful and emotionally lacking. One might wish to take a
risk free approach to some music, but certainly not a figure so fraught
with angst and pathos as Tchaikovsky. I believe that a composer for
whom much of life was lived on the edge, that an interpreter of his
music must be willing to take us a little closer to the brink.
Certainly there are successful elements to this recording,
and one must once again be grateful to Naxos for exposing us to a very
fine orchestra. They definitely deserve to be heard. But in this case,
I have to hedge my recommendation. With such phenomenal interpretations
as Mravinsky, Ormandy, and Karajan available at as decent a price, one
would be remiss to choose this interpretation over them. However, this
is an orchestra worth hearing, and for that, add this disc to a collection
as an alternative.