Dmitri Kitayenko / Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne

Tschaikowsky: Symphonie Nr. 5

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Conventional in style and fairly predictable in expression, this presentation of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 in E minor will surprise no one. But because it is a solid rendition with a distinct point of view, it fills a need that some listeners might have for an unapologetically traditional interpretation. Dmitrij Kitajenko leads the Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne with intelligence, conscientiousness, and obvious affection for the piece, so the music is played with much the same feeling and understanding associated with mainstream performances of the 20th century, and there are no authenticity issues, scholarly revisions, or historically informed changes. In fact, Kitajenko gives the Fifth a slightly exaggerated post-Romantic style, as if to point in quite the opposite direction, particularly in his extremely slow tempos, homogenous orchestral blend, and ample rubato in long melodic lines. Old-fashioned as this treatment is -- delivered with a kind of weight that one usually associates with Russian performances -- this is all of a piece and consistent within its parts, so liking Kitajenko's conservative interpretation is a matter of taste. The filler piece is the Overture to the opera Pique Dame, which rounds out the album with a dramatic encore. Oehms provides rich multichannel sound that captures the full orchestral palette, though the lower brass and timpani occasionally cut through with startling force.

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