- The Swan Lake, ballet, Op. 20
This 2010 recording of Tchaikovsky's eternally popular "Swan Lake" ballet, with Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra might be ideal for dancing, but it is less ideal purely as a listening experience. On the whole, and in most of its parts, theirs is a highly dramatic and very fast-paced performance, filled with plenty of vigor, energy, color, and contrast. The score requires more pathos and bathos than depth and profundity, and Pletnev elicits from the Russian musicians a sweetly soulful and wholly polished performance. But this version misses the lightness and buoyancy of Gennady Rozhdestvensky's classic account of the work, a performance that sacrifices none of the work's drama, and allowing it space to dance. Pletnev's recording has many virtues, though, and the listener may find a place on the shelf for both his and Rozhdestvensky's versions. Ondine's sound is clean and lush, with plenty of detail.