The Strasbourg Philharmonic and its music director conjure appropriate dark colours and a tense atmosphere for Shakespeare’s doomed lovers, preparing the way for a passionate and exciting account of Romeo and Juliet, which ebbs and flows expressively and, although somewhat sticky between 15:47 and 16:02, gets to climaxes and the denouement without inhibition, with luminous violins for the pair’s illicit meeting, and incisive attack. The Symphony is brought of with a will, although the opening should be quieter than this, Aziz Shokhakimov keeping the first movement on the move with purpose, although consequently lyrical subjects can appear indulged. There is no doubt however that the orchestra is top class, sonorous in tuttis with notable woodwinds, as throughout, and the horn solo in the Andante cantabile is liquidly lovely, the whole movement restless in its emotions, strings deep of tone. Following a ‘Valse’ given with a light touch and a swirl, the Finale is a rollercoaster, Tchaikovsky speeding away from Fate, too much really, potentially stealing the triumphant thunder of the coda, but unfortunately Shokhakimov does that anyway by adding, or importing, a crass cymbal clash at 10:35. Superb recorded sound, October last year, on Warner Classics 5054197538513, released August 25.