- 1812 -- Festival Overture, for orchestra in E flat major, Op. 49 - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky - Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra - Ray Kirschensteiner - Erich Kunzel
- Capriccio Italien, for orchestra (or piano, 4 hands), Op. 45 - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky - Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra - Ray Kirschensteiner - Erich Kunzel
- Mazeppa, opera: Cossack Dance - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky - Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra - Ray Kirschensteiner - Erich Kunzel
Tchaikovsky: 1812; Capriccio Italien; Cossack Danceby Erich Kunzel
Telarc's Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture is a landmark in American classical music recordings -- if it was not the first digitally recorded classical album in American history, it would place in perhaps the first five such albums. It was originally issued on LP, and the grooves on the record were so violently waggy and far apart that it was as much fun to look at the grooves spin around on the vinyl as it was to listen to it. In the compact disc edition of Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, the LP, as interesting as it was, is nowhere to be found in the production chain -- this is straight from the digital master tapes to the digital disc with no analog steps along the way. Erich Kunzel is not the kind of conductor who gets all hot under the collar if he has to play "The Stars and Stripes Forever" at an upcoming Fourth of July concert and is hating life because it's his two-thousandth go 'round with the piece. Kunzel is sympathetic to the reality that such pieces are popular because they are meaningful to all kinds of listeners; these works are popular because they are loved, and you just don't go around trampling on things that people love, because it's like you're trampling on their hearts. By the time this "1812 Overture" was recorded in 1978, Kunzel had already conducted this piece plenty of times. When Kunzel takes on the "1812," it always sounds fresh and new, as though it was his first time through it, except that it is assured and polished. Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture effectively put Telarc on the map, and it's damn right that it should have -- it's a boisterous, exciting, fun, and a still somehow artistically transparent performance, right down to the final digital cannon shot. The "Capriccio Italien" is a common disc mate for the "1812," but the "Cossack Dance" from "Mazeppa" is not. The two pieces are certainly a better choice than Beethoven's sprawling "Wellington's Victory" or some such, and these appetizers are played with a gusto equal to that of the main course. While some experts prefer the famous 1963 Antal Dorati recording of the "1812" and insist that none better has been, or could ever be, made, Kunzel and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra seem to have done the impossible here and superseded it. In any event, this really should be the first choice for people who want to add the "1812" to their collection; just make sure you keep an eye glued to your speakers so when those digital cannons go "BOOM" your audio equipment doesn't become "cannon fodder." You've been warned.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsErich Kunzel Primary Artist
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I had the old LP version of this (way back when) and its true, the attempt to reproduce the true sound of the blasts created the most unique grooves ever seen on vinyl. The CD version continues the goal of making this the definitive 1812 and I know of none better. Each piece is done with great life and the choices fit together very well.