Michael Sanderling / Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra

Fauré: Pelléas et Mélisande; Tchaikovsky: Capriccio italien; Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet

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Michael Sanderling's 2012 release on the German label Genuin Classics offers three orchestral works that are as appealing for their brilliant orchestration as they are memorable for their melodies. The program doesn't reveal an obvious connecting thread between Gabriel Fauré's Pélleas et Mélisande, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's Capriccio Italien, or the suite from Sergey Prokofiev's ballet, Romeo and Juliet, but the listener isn't obligated to find any linkages beyond the fact that the music is some of the most sumptuously scored among late Romantic and modern classics. Sanderling leads the Dresden Philharmonic in live performances that are quite vivid and crisply detailed for the concert setting, because the various solos and sections are well recorded and there are almost no distracting noises from the audience. In terms of sonic brilliance, richness of colors, and depth of textures, the Prokofiev is easily the showcase of this album, and the Dresden Philharmonic is in full voice for the performance. The Fauré inspires lovely playing that is soft and appropriately attuned to music's veiled moods, and the Tchaikovsky is brilliant and wonderfully bombastic. But they are just warm-ups for the highly dramatic and lush Romeo and Juliet, which makes the album worth hearing all by itself.

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