Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Mariss Jansons

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5; Francesca da Rimini

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Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra recorded Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 in E minor and the symphonic fantasy Francesca da Rimini in 2009, and released their vivid live performances in the hybrid SACD format on the German BR-Klassik label. The orchestra plays with a rich sound and polished technique, and the recording offers remarkable clarity of details in the inner voices and exquisite tone colors, so the DSD recording and multichannel sound are put to good use. Yet because the sophisticated audio equipment picks up everything good that happens in the orchestra, it also captures the unattractive sounds of the conductor, which are either grunting or a misguided attempt to hum along with the music. Unfortunately, this is a characteristic shared with too many musicians, so some listeners have learned to tolerate this humming along as a quirk of geniuses. All the same, Jansons' indiscreet noises may be too great a distraction for some listeners and their enjoyment of this album may be diminished over a problem that could have been avoided with a different microphone arrangement. However, if some allowance is made for that problem, the performance of the Symphony No. 5 is powerful and compelling, and Francesca da Rimini has tremendous drama, thanks to the overwhelming force and extreme depth of the orchestra's sound.

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