Previously published on August 22 as Post #800
Tchaikovsky’s score for Swan Lake lasts around two-and-a-half hours (Rozhdestvensky’s Melodiya recording of it supreme) and consists of various numbers. From the Philharmonia and its Chief Conductor designate Santtu-Matias Rouvali we get what might be thought a measly forty-three minutes, recorded at the Royal Festival Hall on November 3 last year, involving four credited recording engineers (one being Mike Hatch), no doubt with different roles on the day, for what seems a mix of morning final rehearsal and matinee concert.
What we get is music-making of character, captured in vivid upfront sound that can become somewhat over-bright in the loudest passages. But that character also involves mannerisms on the part of the conductor, the worst ones being between 5’30”- 5’34″ in the Act I Waltz, a very treacly few seconds, or the elephantine opening to the ‘Neapolitan Dance’ (not track 13 as Signum claims); equally, Rouvali inspires splendid solo and corporate playing. Otherwise cygnets, national dances and scenes are represented and we end at the end, a massive apotheosis, forty seconds of clapping and cheering retained as part of the forty-three minutes.
Well, I have done my bit; now over to you, dear reader – and you have time to declare an interest given SIGCD648 is not released until September 4.