I have already commented on the original Harmonia mundi issue of this fine pair of interpretations in their standard CD format. I had not been overly impressed with the Gatti hype until I auditioned these Tchaikovsky interpretations, which I find thoroughly idiomatic and quite exciting. Besides the fire with which Gatti illuminates the first movement, the middle section of the 5/4 D Major waltz movement enjoys some stunning color mixes in the B Minor trio with its insistent Ds in the bassoons, double basses and tympani. The other interior movement, with its breathless triplet figures and tiny bursts of march-theme, projects the various orchestral timbres, like the piccolo, clarinets, and paired horns, in rapid kaleidoscope, urging a tarantella that never quite goes anywhere.
In surround sound, the movement proceeds like some manic antiphon from a demented, Romantic successor of Vivaldi, eager to inflame the world. Between the descending scales and sustained pedal points in the Finale, we find ourselves in the realm of Stygian night, a contemplation of life’s end, with only a moment of D Major consolation. Quite gripping, this Gatti Pathetique. The String Serenade shows off Gatti’s Royal Philharmonic strings in simultaneously grand and rococo colors, the 1881 Serenade’s being another of the composer’s studied responses to his beloved Mozart. The sonority is consistently rich, having that organ-diapason undercarriage reminiscent of the best days of Leopold Stokowski. While connoisseurs may find Gatti’s approach to the Waltz self-consciously precious, the natural, lush exuberance and seamless polish of the RPO offsets any pretensions.
— Gary Lemco