Maurice de Abravanel

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker [DualDisc]

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Beautifully, even lovingly restored to the highest possible standards of audiophile sound, Maurice de Abravanel and the Utah Symphony Orchestra's performance of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet is only so-so. Abravanel was a dab hand at lighter-than-air ballet scores and he keeps the action moving and the tempos buoyant. But, try as he might, Abravanel cannot quite get the Utah Symphony off the ground. The upper strings are too thin and the lower strings are too thick. The winds lack color and sometimes even confidence in the solos. The brass sometimes cracks and the ensemble sometimes slips. These problems would be hard to overcome in Tchaikovsky's bombastic Swan Lake, but in his delicate Nutcracker Ballet, it is nearly fatal.

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