Ernest Ansermet

Tchaikovsky: The Great Ballets

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AllMusic Review by

Brilliant's six-disc box set of the great ballets of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky offers considerably more than just music from Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker, as performed by Ernest Ansermet and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Included with these Romantic masterpieces are the Symphony No. 6 in B minor, "Pathétique," the Variations on a Rococo Theme for cello and orchestra, the Orchestral Suite No. 3, and the Orchestral Suite No. 4, "Mozartiana," so this package is quite a bargain for anyone exploring Tchaikovsky's music for the first time, as well as for connoisseurs who might remember when these recordings were first released on vinyl. Bearing in mind that these mid-20th century recordings are all analog and stereo -- with the exception of the Rococo Variations, recorded in fairly compressed-sounding mono -- the audio is still excellent, and while the playing is not the most polished, the music in most cases still comes through full-bodied, vibrant, and clearly detailed. In terms of the interpretations, Ansermet and his orchestra deliver energetic and committed performances that sound quite fresh even today, despite the intervening decades, and the interpretations are as musical and emotionally satisfying as many modern versions. The only serious drawbacks that should concern listeners are that Swan Lake is presented in Riccardo Drigo's shortened version, and the edition of the Rococo Variations used here was abridged by Wilhelm Fitzhagen. If cut versions are problematic, then there are several complete performances of these works available. However, this set is still worthwhile for valuable documentation of some of the most respected musicians of their era.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Swan Lake
1 5:42
2 6:45
3 6:59
4 4:51
5 2:35
6 7:56
7 2:15
8 5:43
9 1:16
10 1:32
11 1:43
12 2:18
13 2:54
14 3:33
15 1:52
16 2:16
17 2:08
18 2:49
19 2:27
20 7:37

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Sleeping Beauty
1 7:52
2 4:13
3 4:14
4 0:44
5 0:34
6 0:56
7 0:30
8 0:56
9 0:57
10 1:29
11 8:09
12 6:35
13 4:20
14 1:49
15 6:05
16 1:58
17 2:38
18 3:37
19 5:39

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Sleeping Beauty
1 2:45
2 1:38
3 0:39
4 0:51
5 0:46
6 0:31
7 0:45
8 1:35
9 4:46
10 5:00
11 1:25
12 1:22
13 0:46
14 2:49
15 4:19
16 2:25
17 4:29
18 1:50
19 1:03
20 0:57
21 1:27
22 1:55
23 2:14
24 0:47
25 0:45
26 1:30
27 1:19
28 1:16
29 2:31
30 3:40
31 1:00
32 1:26
33 1:23
34 2:03
35 3:55
36 1:54

Track Listing - Disc 5

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
The Nutcracker
1 3:09
2 4:10
3 2:27
4 2:14
5 5:16
6 5:34
7 6:35
8 3:29
9 3:23
10 6:08
11 4:01
12 4:41
13 1:11
14 3:10
15 1:03
16 1:07
17 2:14
18 2:41
19 6:26
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