“RUSSIAN DANCES” = TCHAIKOVSKY: Suite from Swan Lake; GLAZUNOV 2 Concert Waltzes; SHOSTAKOVICH: The Golden Age; STRAVINSKY: Circus Polka – Kazuki Yamada/ Orch. de la Suisse Romande – Pentatone multichannel (5.0) SACD PTC 5186 557, 70:54 (3/11/16) ***:
Nice sonics and playing but the program is a bit mundane.
“Russian Dances” is a pleasant diversion from Pentatone, but it isn’t particularly compelling for serious music lovers.
Most of our readers will have much of this music in their collections performed by other musicians. The performances here are fine, and the 5.0 SACD sounds good, as do all the Pentatones I’ve reviewed. On the other hand, the compositions on the disc are pretty much war horses and not the kind of music most of us would seek out.
I thought the highlight of the disc was the Shostakovich ballet suite The Golden Age, likely because I was less familiar with it and it wasn’t a waltz, which, along with a Stravinsky polka pervades the program. The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under the baton of Kabuki Yamada play the included music well, but again, there’s not much compelling here.
The recorded sound is well-engineered, but this is not among the top tier of audiophile discs. Recorded at Victoria Hall in Geneva, Switzerland in July 2015, the rear channels are used for light ambiance. The strings are well done in terms of fidelity, always a potential strength of a high resolution recording.
There’s nothing at all wrong with “Russian Dances,” but I didn’t find it the kind of disc I could enthusiastically recommend to a serious music lover. It might be an excellent gift for someone you are trying to interest in good music.
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