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Tchaikovsky: Symphony no 5, Francesca da Rimini / Gustavo Dudamel, Venezuela Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra

Album Summary

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Symphony no 5 in E minor, Op. 64
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"...he obviously has something important to say in this 2008 performance that adds to our understanding of the symphony and doesn't just provide a novel twist to extremely familiar music. From the outset, Dudamel treats the score as if it were brand new and not covered in accretions of past performances: the rhythmic details and full orchestration of the Allegro stand out in high relief; the lyricism of the Andante cantabile is touching and hauntingly tragic; the Valse is delicate and picante, yet surprisingly ominous; and the Finale is considerably shorn of bombast thanks to the real explosiveness and fury Dudamel inspires in the musicians... This is a marvelously insightful reading of the Fifth that has genuine emotion and a feeling of organic unfolding and inevitability that makes it feel like great music again." -All Music Guide

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
A sinewy, uninhibited Tchaikovsky Fifth - you'd expect nothing less from this source. Dudamel and his young players feed on one another; the exchange of energy is extraordinary. Tchaikovsky's impulsive changes of tempo feel more naturally impetuous while the phrasing is directly reflected in the sound: just listen to the yearning second theme of the Allegro con anima and the way that the sheen on the violin sound intensifies with the release.

But as with their famous Prom a few years back, it's not just the fireworks but the inwardness of this performance that brings the biggest surprises. The great Andante cantabile horn theme (so soft and consoling) emerges almost imperceptibly from the somnolent harmonies of the lower strings at the start of the movement.

It's like discovering Romeo and Juliet before the unwelcome dawn - the atmosphere is extraordinarily charged. And what sweep the Simón Bolívar string-players lend the second theme, not least in the climactic return. As for the finale - well, there's nothing like headstrong youngsters to reignite an old favourite: the allegrovivace comes off the starting-blocks at such a blistering pace as to register a nanosecond of disbelief that such a tempo is even possible.

But the real disbelief is still to come. To better this account of Francesca da Rimini you need to go back to Stokowski or Bernstein. As if the descent into Dante's inferno isn't intense enough - Dudamel's pacing of this lengthy introduction is quite masterly - the whirlwind at its core glows white hot with astonishing virtuosity displayed from every department. Then the loveliest of all Tchaikovsky's lyric creations brings a limpid melancholy from the solo clarinet - truly times of happiness recalled in misery.

And though Dudamel's tempo rubato in the string-led approach to the climax may not be as abandoned as Bernstein's, it's still pretty brave. Hearing is believing in the coda as the trombones and trumpets tumble into the abyss. Exciting? Deliriously so.



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Works Details

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Symphony no 5 in E minor, Op. 64
  • Conductor: Gustavo Dudamel
  • Ensemble: Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela
  • Running Time: 48 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1888
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32
  • Conductor: Gustavo Dudamel
  • Ensemble: Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela
  • Running Time: 25 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1876
  • Studio/Live: Live