CD review: Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty by James Ehnes, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Neeme Järvi
10:13 02 January 2013
This immensely winning two-disc set inaugurates an ambitious (and welcome) new project by Chandos to record Tchaikovsky’s ballet scores in the studio’s exemplary surround sound.
The survey begins in striking fashion with the complete score of The Sleeping Beauty (Swan Lake and The Nutcracker are to follow in 2013 and 2014, respectively – if there’s still a classical music industry then).
Tchaikovsky’s ballet adaptation of Charles Perrault’s La Belle au bois dormant was distinguished by the composer’s utilisation of then-unorthodox instrumental combinations, and had an influence on later composers such as Stravinsky.
This is a splendidly colourful and poetic reading of the score, with only a handful of caveats (might the famous waltz have been dispatched with a touch more panache?), but at a stroke this becomes the default reading of the complete score.