Valses

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Collections of orchestral waltzes don't come much more random than this 1998 disc by French Deutsche Grammophon. The repertoire is random: along with Tchaikovsky's well-known waltzes from his ballets Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker, there are waltzes from Khachaturian's Masquerade and Prokofiev's Cinderella plus Liszt's Mephisto Waltz, Sibelius' Valse triste, Ravel's La Valse, and, for good measure, even a waltz by Vienna's Waltz King: Strauss' Tales from the Vienna Woods. The performances are random: the three Tchaikovsky waltzes are performed by the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan; the Liszt, Sibelius and Strauss waltzes are performed by the Berlin Philharmonic under Mstislav Rostropovich; the Ravel waltz is performed by the Boston Symphony under Seiji Ozawa; the Prokofiev waltz is performed by the Russian National Orchestra under Mikhail Pletnev; and just to make things interesting, the Khachaturian waltz is performed by the Orchestra of the Monte Carlo National Opera under Edouard van Remoortel. And, as you might imagine, the results are pretty random, too. Some of the performances are polished if not especially inspiring -- those led by Karajan -- some are functional if not particularly exciting -- those led by Rostropovich -- and some are mediocre if not altogether adequate -- those led by Ozawa and Pletnev -- and one is not quite together but plenty of fun anyway -- the one led by van Remoortel. The sound ranges from decent stereo -- the Khachaturian -- to terrific stereo -- the Tchaikovsky -- to decent digital -- the Prokofiev. In sum, if what you're looking for is a random collection of orchestral waltzes, this disc will serve satisfactorily.

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