Jaap van Zweden / Dallas Symphony Orchestra

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5; Capriccio Italien

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If there's a problem with Jaap van Zweden's 2009 concert recording of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 in E minor and the Capriccio italien, it lies mainly in the somewhat flat and airless reproduction, which seems to be a recurring issue for some CDs released on the DSO Live label. But this CD is far from unlistenable, and anyone who gives it a fair hearing will find that van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra turn in respectable performances of both pieces that have few flaws. The symphony is strongly felt and vigorously played, and the conductor has a tight control on the work's form, so it never seems sloppy or self-indulgent, but moves along with efficiency and coherence. Because van Zweden is careful to keep the work propulsive, sharp, and energetic right to the end, he avoids the mawkishness that lesser conductors wallow in. The Capriccio italien is a fun filler piece that is delivered with sunny tone colors and a joyous atmosphere, so it is quite enjoyable despite the sound, which lacks credible dimensions or proper resonance.

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