Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker - Jurowski

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker - Jurowski

PentaTone Classics  PTC 5186761

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker

State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia ''Evgeny Svetlanov”
Vladimir Jurowski (conductor)

After the tremendous success of Swan Lake, Vladimir Jurowski and the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia “Evgeny Svetlanov” continue their Tchaikovsky ballet series on PENTATONE with this recording of The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s enchanting masterpiece is an absolute audience favourite, thanks to hits such as the Waltz of the Flowers, Trepak and Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, but also due to the composer’s ability to evoke a sense of wonder in listeners both young and old. Vladimir Jurowski and his players tell this story about the power of fantasy with unprecedented zeal, demonstrating the symphonic refinement and orchestral brilliance of Tchaikovsky’s score.

The Nutcracker offers the third PENTATONE release of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia “Evgeny Svetlanov” together with its Artistic Director Vladimir Jurowski, after Prokofiev Symphonies 2 & 3 (2017) and Swan Lake (2018). Jurowski has recorded extensively for PENTATONE and is generally seen as one of the most prominent conductors of his generation.

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DSD recording
Comments (8)

Comment by hiredfox - November 1, 2019 (1 of 8)

Absolutely delighted that Jurowski's survey of Tchaikovsky's three great classical ballets looks like being completed. Well done to all at Pentatone and Polyhymnia. In previous discussions on the Swan Lake thread some doubt was cast on the likelihood of this happening as earlier CD's by these forces may have implied that they would not re-record the same repertoire.

Comment by hiredfox - November 3, 2019 (2 of 8)

I am reminded to advise readers not to discount the superb Bolshoi disc of The Nutcracker that appeared on Pentatone a decade or so ago, a truly spell binding and magical performance. Petrenko will have to pull a few rabbits from his hat to outperform that nugget.

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker - Vedernikov

Comment by breydon_music - November 8, 2019 (3 of 8)

Yes, I recall this with pleasure also. In fact, I regret that Pentatone's fruitful association with Vedernikov did not continue longer. My own special pleasure from this series of recordings was his Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet suites - for me, as fine a performance and recording of this music as we have had in hi-res. Shame on Pentatone, then, for using each suite as filler on 2 seperate discs, even more so as one of them is paired with something by the awful (for me!) Gordon Getty!

Comment by Don_Angelo - November 14, 2019 (4 of 8)

Hey Hiredfox,

Reading your comment I am tempted to try that recording, because I was very disappointed by this one:
Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker - Jarvi

Did you hear Järvi's account ? If so, how would you rate it compared to Dorati's London or Concertgebouw ? or this Gergiev's with Mariinsky Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Symphony No. 4 - Gergiev ?
From Jurowski I have an excellent memory from his Planets which replaced Karajan's recording with the Berliners as my favorite.

As this title is already released and available for purchase in here, I ordered it and should be able to answer my own question tomorrow.

Comment by hiredfox - November 15, 2019 (5 of 8)

I have both the Jarvi & Gergiev recordings made a couple of years ago. Gergiev impressed me hugely and I commented at length on how fine his interpretation and performance were. I won't reprise my comments as you can read them under that entry. Most certainly as dramatic and enchanting as the Bolshoi account but the latter comes with less sinister undertones suggested by the maestro and more in line with my understanding of how the composer would have expected children to respond innocently. When performed at Christmas the ballet is a palpable delight for children of all ages including me but never for one moment have I let cynicism enter my mind to deflect from the magic of childhood innocence.

Jarvi's version also has had its supporters and was full of life and colour but as we have surmised many times over the years, the recording quality does contribute to one's overall sense of the total performance and its ability to convey to listeners that sense of being there at a live performance. This is especially important for operatic and ballet performances. For all their technical skills and jiggery pokery, Chandos struggle for realism with 96kHz recordings when so many are now using DXD or DSD 256. The recording does not recover the full panoply of exciting orchestral colours and textures revealed in the composer's scores.

"Dull"... perhaps but not lacking some excitement. Gergiev teases with a new twist and wins on that basis alone as well by the outstanding recording produced by the Mariinsky engineers.

Comment by Don_Angelo - November 15, 2019 (6 of 8)

Thanks for your answer, I had three points in mind with my question:
- How would you rank either of the two Dorati's performance, the Järvi and the Gergiev ?
- I read your comments on the Gergiev, and it actually encouraged me to give Gergiev another chance as I consider him a very poor conductor in symphonies and concertos, and I had doubts on his ability to seduce me on the Nutcracker. I also wanted to know if your opinion had evolved on that performance.
- Since I generallly agree with you I was really curious about your views on both Jurowski's and Järvi's performance.

I received my copy today, will be listening to it thoroughly this week-end but based on a my first hearing it has merits. I was however disturbed by some balance issues, specifically in the Sugar Plum Fairy Dance, where the low strings sounded exagerately loud.

Comment by hiredfox - November 15, 2019 (7 of 8)

Hi Don.

Dorati's RCO recording from 1975 received many plaudits at the time of its release by Philips but I have never had a copy to analyse or review personally. It is never too late of course so you have prompted me to try to pick up a copy of the original Vinyl LP from Discogs if a mint condition example is available. I am not sure at this stage that I want to spend £35 on a pro-owned OOP Mercury SACD. I was never as impressed with the Mercury SACD transcripts as John Newton's Living Stereo series.


Comment by Don_Angelo - November 15, 2019 (8 of 8)

Since I own every Mercury SACD I can say that some are very impressive while the others are clearly not. The same could be said about the redbooks, to a lesser extent. Dorati's Nutcracker I would call it a must have, both because of the performance and the sound quality. I'd be curious to know your gripes about the Mercury Living Presence and the Living Stereo SACDs, since I would definitely pick some of the best SACD I've heard/own amongst them.
The strange irony is that modern reccording gear has better specs and produce more detail sound, however modern sound engineering makes a recording like this Jurowski's less life-like than some recordings of the 50-60s.