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Best Recordings of 2009 (#10)

Time for a review of classical CDs that were outstanding in 2009. My lists for the previous years: 2008, (2008 - "Almost") 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004.

# 10 - New Release

Tchaikovsky, 5th Symphony, Andris Nelsons, Orfeo 780091

available at Amazon
P.I.Tchaikovsky, Symphony No.5 op.64 & Hamlet Overture op.67,
A.Nelsons / CoBSO
Andris Nelsons, born in 1978, is one of the conductors to watch emerge as one of the greats of his generation. The City of Birmingham Orchestra, having had good experience with very young, supremely talented music directors, didn’t hesitate long after first experiencing and hearing him: they snatched him off the market in 2007 and signed him to a three year contract, since extended to 2014. I wouldn’t be surprised if other orchestras are already vying for his services behind the scenes—and after hearing this Tchaikovsky Fifth Symphony you might agree. My word, does this protégé of Mariss Jansons know how to pack a punch, elicit bright-eyed vigor from the orchestra, and manage to avoid all Tchaikovsky pitfalls. How confidently he whips the fourth movement along is alone worth hearing. The last time I was even nearly as thrilled by a Tchaikovsky Symphony recording was Daniele Gatti’s Fifth. Not before long he will record for a bigger label then the very fine Orfeo brand… until then they have real little star on their roster.

# 10 - Reissue

Alfvén, Symphonies & Swedish Rhapsodies, Neeme Järvi, Brilliant Classics

available at Amazon
H. Alfvén, The 5 Symphonies & Swedish Rhapsodies,
N.Järvi / Royal Stockholm PO
Brilliant Classic’s trick in classical music is: Trust people to explore music or interpretations they’ve not heard, assuming the price is low enough. Then they send their pack of bargaining dogs to record labels that let their back catalog loiter uselessly about and attain the license for a (limited) reprint. They pump out copies of obscure (and often perfectly mainstream) music in high quantities with production cost kept low… and succeed. One of their great re-issues this year is the set of all of of Hugo Alfvén’s Symphonies and the Swedish Rhapsodies with the Royal Stockholm PO under Neeme Järvi. Formerly on BIS and a bit pricey, the five disc set can now be found less than half the price of the original. The symphonies are much more lively and bright than the icicled bench on the BIS set might have suggested… and you will find them anywhere between perfectly riveting and harmlessly enjoyable examples of Nordic romanticism. If you like Nielsen and Richard Strauss, don’t miss these. The performances have never been bettered... and the one place where Brilliant thankfully doesn't skimp (anymore) is the fine slim-box packaging.

-> Best Recordings of 2009 #1
-> Best Recordings of 2009 #2
-> Best Recordings of 2009 #3
-> Best Recordings of 2009 #4
-> Best Recordings of 2009 #5
-> Best Recordings of 2009 #6
-> Best Recordings of 2009 #7
-> Best Recordings of 2009 #8
-> Best Recordings of 2009 #9

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