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Reviews: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5, Francesca da Rimini - Pletnev

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Reviews: 4

Site review by Castor June 23, 2011
Performance:   Sonics:  
The text for this review has been moved to the new site. You can read it here:

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Site review by Polly Nomial June 7, 2012
Performance:   Sonics:  
The text for this review has been moved to the new site. You can read it here:

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Review by mwgfrg June 20, 2011 (8 of 17 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Disappointing because of a fatal sonic flaw: the massed upper strings simply disappear into the overall orchestral picture. There is no bite, no impact, just a syrupy, bland, congealed tonal balance. Given the excellence of the performance--like the preceding SACD of the 4th Symphony, both of which are superior to Pletnev's earlier DG RBCD performances of these works--this is a real shame. As with the 4th, the lower strings and brass are rich and warm, and solo instruments are smooth and convincing, but, especially in Francesca, where the first violins take such command in depicting the swirling orchestral figurations, the performances fall flat on their face. A quick comparison with fine LP and RBCD versions of earlier analog performances like Stokowski's and Rostropovich's demonstrates what is missing. Thinking there might be something wrong with my system, I put the 4th Symphony on for direct comparison, and was reminded once again how fine Pentatone's recording can be. Maybe others will hear this one differently, but what I hear is a bad mistake on someone's part either in microphone placement or in balancing after completion.

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Review by Arthur December 29, 2011 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I finally got around to this recording, and like Windsurfer, I'm truly blown away by the recording. Perhaps it doesn't have that Telarc clarity in the bass, but that's not necessarily bad. What it does have is incredible balance and presence.

Performance is another matter. Good first movement, but a couple of solos were a little awkward. I got swept right along with Mravinsky's histrionics in the second movement, but generally a more sane approach works better for me. But here Pletnev makes me feel like he's sleepwalking. I want the passion to be burning, but just below the surface, not out on one's sleeve. With Pletnev, the passion seems to be completely missing. When the third movement begins, everything is marvelous once again! Such beautiful solos! Then, once again the finale lost me. I feel that in many ways this is the weakest movement among his last 3 symphonies. And yet, in the right hands it is one of the uplifting things he ever wrote. I always want the finale to the Fourth slowed down just a tad - it's not a race! But in the Fifth, you need that speed! Moreover, as the movement progresses, it needs to speed up even more with a manic energy. If you do so, you can create something magical. Pletnev starts off at about an average pace, loses momentum, and then just when he needs to shift into overdrive, he slows down even more!

So, all in all a mixed bag. But worth a listen if only to hear how an orchestra should be recorded.

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