DUKAS: Fanfare to La Péri. CHOPIN: Grand Valse Brilliante, Op. 18. DELIBES: Waltz from Sylvia. Cortège from Coppelia. MINKUS: Grand Pas de Deux from Don Quixote. TCHAIKOVSKY: Waltz of the Flowers from Nutcracker. Waltz from Act I of Swan Lake. Grand Waltz from The Sleeping Beauty. KHACHATURIAN: Sabre Dance from Gayne. ADAM: Grand Pas de Deux from Giselle. SHOSTAKOVICH: Polka from The Age of Gold. DE FALLA: Spanish Dance from La Vida Breve. PUGNI: Finale from Pas de Quatre. GLIÈRE: Russian Dance from The Red Poppy. KABALEVSKY: Galop from The Comedians. STRAVINSKY: Finale from The Firebird. OFFENBACH: Galop from La Parisienne. Can-Can from Orpheus in the Underworld.
Cincinnati "Pops" Orch/Erich Kunzel, cond.
TELARC SACD 60625 (5.1 channel) TT: 69:49

VIVALDI: Violin concertos in C, Op. 7/2, RV 188, in G minor, Op. 7/3, RV 326, in A minor, Op. 7/4, RV 354, in F, Op. 7 No. 5, TV 285a, in B flat, Op. Op. 7, No. 6, RV 374, in G, Op. 7 No. 8, RV 299, in B flat, Op. 7 No. 9, RV 373, in F, Op. 7 No. 10, RV 294a.
Salvatore Accardo, violinist/I Musici
PENTATONE PTC 5186 130 (4 channel) TT: 74:23

BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 3 in D minor
Berlin German Radio Symphony Orch/Kent Nagano, cond.
HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 801817 (5 channel) TT: 68:42

PROKOFIEV: Suite No. 1 from Romeo and Juliet. KHACHATURIAN: Suite from Spartacus. SHOSTAKOVICH: Suite from The Bolt
Russian National Orch/Alexander Vedernikov, cond.
PENTATONE PTC 5186 032 (5 channel) TT: 66:36

The Telarc SACD Ballet Favorites is a pleasant collection as advertised, very well played, recorded with Telarc's usual sonic expertise. All performances were recorded on one day—March 1, 2004—in Cincinnati's Music Hall with the usual team of producer Robert Woods and recording engineer Jack Renner. The orchestra is in front with ambient sound from the rear. This is one of the Cincinnati "Pops" Orchestra's best recordings.

Pentatone's Vivaldi collection is one of their RQR ("Remastered Quadro Recordings") releases recorded originally in four-channel sound in Switzerland in July of 1975, now released for the first time in multi-channel sound (although my CD player indicates there are 5 channels, actually there are only the four originally recorded. These performances were critically acclaimed when originally released and now they sound better than ever with a fine sense of space, instruments perfectly placed.

Anton Bruckner's symphonies are slow to appear on SACD. Some months ago BMG/RCA issued a live recording of Symphony No. 9 with the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Nicholas Harnoncourt (REVIEW).With their huge masses of sound, Bruckner's symphonies are ideal for surround sound recordings. Now we have this Third conducted by Kent Nagano with his Berlin orchestra, and there is a new live recording of the Seventh with Seiji Ozawa's and the Sato Kinen Orchestra on Philips, not yet heard by this reviewer. Nagano, who on recordings focuses on modern composers (Adams, Bernstein, Messiaen, Eötvös, Floyd), and a wide range of operas (Puccini, Prokofiev, Strauss), turns out to be a superb conductor of Bruckner. This is a powerful reading of the composer's "Wagner" symphony, so called because of its use of Wagnerian motives at various points throughout the symphony, many of which were eliminated from later editions of the score—this is the original version, considerably longer than what is usually heard.

The orchestra is excellent, the recorded sound appropriately massive and sonorous, even though recorded in a Berlin studio. Those interested in things Brucknerian surely should visit a unique website: http://home.comcast.net/~jberky/BSVD.htm This site, masterminded by the honorable John F. Berkey, lists every Bruckner symphony recording, commercial and live. It's a remarkable achievement well worth investigating—and hats off to Mr. Berkey for his patience and expertise on the project.

Pentatone's Russian ballet collection features works by three major composers. The first suite from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet contains several of the best-known excerpts (Folk Dance, Romeo and Juliet, Death of Tybalt), and from Spartacus we have three lively dances plus an expansive treatment of the sensual Spartacus and Phrygia Adagio. The six movements of the Shostakovich ballet suite, based on a story of industrial sabotage, include a polka and tango—all highly entertaining. Performances are fine but the recording has the sound of a rather dry studio. Recorded early in 2003, it was produced by Job Maarse in DZZ Studio 5 in Moscow. It's unfortunate he and his four recording/balance engineers were unable to provide more orchestral weight and resonance.

R.E.B. (December 2004)