- The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66
Recorded in 1974, André Previn's critically acclaimed performance of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty" has remained one of the most admired offerings in EMI's catalog, and the recording has been reissued several times since that date. In making the transition from LPs to CDs, two numbers -- the Pas Berrichon and the Sarabande at the end of Act III -- were cut from the complete recording to allow the ballet to fit on two discs. Apart from this modest alteration, most of "Sleeping Beauty" is preserved and it is still remarkably fresh sounding, even after digital remastering in 1993, which apparently removed any traces of analog hiss from an already clean recording. The London Symphony Orchestra made several terrific-sounding albums with Previn at this time, and the ensemble's energy, tone, blend, clarity, expression, and technique are all that could be desired of any world-class orchestra. With his career as a jazz pianist and composer, Previn surprised many with his recordings of the Romantic orchestral repertoire, and his great sympathy with Tchaikovsky's music made this performance especially satisfying because he drew particularly vivid and lively playing from his musicians. While this performance may not be superior to some of the Russian competition, it is certainly among the best by any western orchestra, and in terms of elegance and polish, it is still one of the very best ever released. This classic package is highly recommended for anyone who needs a handsome version of what is arguably Tchaikovsky's finest ballet.