Yuri Simonov

Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet; Capriccio Italien Op. 45; Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin; 1812 Overture

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Even though this recording is by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a solidly British institution, you could almost guess that it's a Russian orchestra from the special touches Yuri Simonov gives to the works by Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky: the brooding depth in the strings, the throbbing dynamics, the tremulous tone of the woodwinds, the subtle coloration of the brass, the expansive phrasing, and the fluid rubato that brings out the last measure of expression in the orchestra: all are part of what is associated with the Russian Romantic style, and somehow it effectively comes across here. The Romeo and Juliet Overture, Capriccio Italien, the Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, and the 1812 Overture are among Tchaikovsky's immensely popular works, and it's likely that most collectors already have them on one disc or another. But don't let that prevent you from hearing this extraordinary budget album, which offers these perennial favorites with great vitality and freshness in remarkably vibrant and clear recordings. As part of Intersound's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra series, this is a terrific-sounding album without being a hybrid SACD, and while the budget status may make some suspicious of its quality, this is a real bargain at the price and well worth checking out, especially for the truly glorious explosions in the 1812 Overture.

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