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  Harmonia Mundi -
  HMU 807381
  Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5, Romeo & Juliet - Gatti
  Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E minor Op. 64, Romeo and Juliet (Fantasy Overture)

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Daniele Gatti (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 2

Reviews: 3

Review by deathstroke November 15, 2004 (12 of 13 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I've had an SACD player since February and have been looking for a Tchaik 5 that was available in the US. Recently this one popped up here on the site and I ordered it directly from Harmonia Mundi USA. I am very familiar with both pieces, and have played French horn in the 5th in various youth orchestras including one conducted by Ben Zander (though I didn't do the solo that time). I also recently heard Mahler 5 by the Boston Symphony, conducted by Gatti! That performance was magnificent, although at breakneck speed compared to the Zander SACD recording.
All that being said, I was impressed by this disc. The performance was top notch and according to the liner notes, the fast tempo is closer to what the composer intended in his own score markings. You really will feel the intensity during the more powerful passages, and the more laid-back ones are done in a great contrast. One quibble I did have...the horns were placed quite far back (you can see this in the photo underneat the disc itself) and as such they sound distant and a bit muffled at times. The rest of the brass really stands out much more. Sonically this disc is ALMOST top notch...the mutlichannel could have used a bit more surround to provide a more enveloping sound.
As for Romeo and Juliet, the BIS recording is sonically superior, though the performance on this disc was unique. The tempi were not what I was used to and the phrasing was different but I did enjoy it. Sonically it was not too impressive, having been a BMG release back in 1998 or I seriously doubt it was a multichannel DSD master (as opposed to the 5th which was done last summer).

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Review by Daland February 18, 2005 (10 of 11 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
My impression of this recording is somewhat different. Technically, it is not quite up to the highest standard. Although billed as a DSD recording, the sound could be more detailed and transparent. The violins are not sufficiently prominent because they are often submerged by the brass, which should not happen in a DSD recording. The first violins are mostly relegated to the far left of the soundstage and can only be heard to full advantage in the final movement. Apart from that the string sound does not have the silky quality associated with RCA Living Stereo (or Pentatone or Telarc for that matter). The brass instruments sound better (especially the horns) although the bass is rather dry, while the woodwind are lacking in bloom. Gatti's critically acclaimed reading is romantic rather than fiery despite his occasionally fast tempi (the opening is simply too fast). Sometimes his obsession with detail seems to hinder genuine forward momentum. The sound in Romeo and Juliet appears to be more open and natural. On balance, this is not one of my favourite recordings of Tchaikovsky's Fifth, but on repeated listening I found Gatti's fresh look at the score quite illuminating.

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Review by mwagner1962 May 18, 2005 (9 of 11 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  

I am going to give this SACD high marks for both performance and sound, and both are top notch. I have another SACD of Tchaikovsky 5th, with Neemi Jarvi and Gothenburg (BIS) so I can actually compare SACD to SACD both on sound and performance.

While I love both the sound and performance of the BIS SACD, I find the sound to on the Gatti performance be superb with excellent placement of all sections. I find no fault with the placement of any section, either on my system or the system at my friend's audio store.

Gatti lets the brass play with gusto, and as a brass player myself, I appreciate Gatti's letting the brass play, yet not letting the brass destroy.

There is excellent sound staging (at least on the two systems I have heard this SACD on) and I can easily picture all the sections in my mind. The different tempi (which sets this performance apart from any previous recording or live performance I have heard) makes this a truly cool SACD to own. Combine these new tempi with an enthusiastic performance and a high quality recording makes this a great SACD. I can only hope that we will see a complete Tchaikovsky cycle with Gatti and the Royal Philharmonic. HIGHLY recommended!!!!

My $.02!!!!

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Works: 2  

Peter Tchaikovsky - Romeo and Juliet (fantasy overture), TH 42
Peter Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 5 in E minor, TH 29 Op. 64