RAVEL:  La Valse.  Ma mre l'oye (Suite).  TCHAIKOVSKY:  Suite from Act II of Nutcracker.  GADE:  Jalousie
Danish National Radio Symphony Orch/Yuri Temirkanov, cond.

Chandos 9799  (B) (ADD)  TT:  70:12

Yuri Temirkanov is one of the busiest conductor of the day.  In 1969 he became music director of the Leningard Symphony, in 1977 was appointed Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Kirov Opera, and since 1989 has been Music Director of the St. Petersburg  (formerly Leningrad)  Philharmonic.  For more than a decade he was associated with the Royal Philharmonic (making a number of  RCA recordings during this tenure) and remains Conductor Laureate of that group.  He has guest conducted most of the top orchestras of the world, was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Danish National Radio Symphony in 1998, and in the 1999/2000 season became Chief Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

I attended two concerts by the Baltimore Symphony this season when Temirkanov first assumed leadership,  both  were  remarkable.  The first was a dramatic  reading of Mahler's Resurrection Symphony, the second an all-French program of Ravel (La Valse/Ma Mre suite and Left Hand Concerto -- with Leon Fleisher as sterling soloist),  and Debussy (La Mer). The Baltimore Symphony has never sounded better; they responded enthusiastically to Temirkanov's expressive non-baton direction.  The same kind of positive, sensitive  music-making can be heard on this new CD, mostly   recorded during concerts in the Danish Radio Concert Hall 1998/99.  La Valse  is one of the longest ever recorded (12:32) building  to an impressive climax, Mother Goose is sheer magic , and the extended suite (35:38) from Nutcracker is filled with felicitous touches climaxed by a particularly passionate "Pas de deux."   Perhaps as a tribute to his new association with the Danish orchestra, Jacob Gade's famous Jalousie closes out this pleasant CD, the only performance not recorded during a concert.. 

Chandos' sound is impressive in its own resonant way, but bass is overly-prominent  and lacks  definition.  Audience sounds are minimal,  heard mostly  in quieter sections of  Nutcracker.  However, applause is heard after all of the live recordings  --  and  there is far too much of it.  CD producers should realize most collectors really don't want to listen to more than 30 seconds of it.  This is a midt-priced CD and will give much pleasure to those interested in the repertory.

R.E.B. (April 2000)