- The Swan Lake, ballet, Op. 20
If this 2010 release of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" gives any indication, conductor Nicolae Moldoveanu and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra appear to have found an ideal working relationship, for virtually everything comes together in this splendid performance of the classic ballet. In music this familiar, it's tempting to render each dance or scene more or less as everybody always has and just not worry too much about creating a special atmosphere, let alone striving for any nuance or originality. But Moldoveanu has found ways to interpret the work with subtle rubato, carefully timed phrasing, and tasteful adjustments to dynamics, and the ballet seems to be freshly revived with only the slightest of changes. The orchestra is fully responsive to Moldoveanu's direction, and the musicians play cohesively and with genuine feeling for the ebb and flow of the music and its drama. Top honors go to violinist Clio Gould, whose solos are genuine highlights of this album, and whose light, sweet tone and rhapsodic expression keep the music suspended in a state of grace. A further attraction of this desirable double-disc package is the exceptional reproduction that picks up everything from both ends of the audio range, yet between its softest and loudest levels, the volume never becomes uncomfortable or needs adjusting. Highly recommended.