- The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66
Arguably the finest of Tchaikovsky's three ballets, "The Sleeping Beauty" is a genuine treat in the super audio format, because the subtle timbres, dynamics, and shadings of the orchestra are displayed to optimal effect in 5.0 surround sound. This 2012 Chandos double-SACD of the complete work is certainly a showcase of the best in audio reproduction, though the music must come first, so this package presents the ballet with artistry to match its high production values. Neeme Järvi and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra offer a vivid interpretation that features a wide dynamic range, brisk tempos, vigorous playing, and concentrated expressions, which maintain the dramatic tension and sustain interest throughout. Audiophiles will be most taken by the richness of the colors, the spaciousness and depth of the orchestra, and the crispness of the details, which are easily appreciated in the distinct separation of parts. Järvi balances the sections with an ear for transparency and avoids creating overly lush textures, so Tchaikovsky's music sounds fresh and lucid through the most natural means. Yet this is a full reading that conveys all the excitement and passion of the story, and all the emotions Tchaikovsky suggested in the music are convincingly conveyed in this compelling performance.