Tchaikovsky - Romeo and Juliet & Hamlet

Pentatone: PTC5186330

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Tchaikovsky - Romeo and Juliet & Hamlet


Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - March 2009



Catalogue No:


Release date:

10th Nov 2008




59 minutes


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Tchaikovsky - Romeo and Juliet & Hamlet


Hamlet: Overture & Incidental Music

Romeo & Juliet - Fantasy Overture

original 1869 version

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Any recording on PentaTone with Vladimir Jurowski must be regarded as an event and this release certainly lives up to its promise. Russian conductor and Russian orchestra play this astounding music with full romantic panache!

Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky: Hamlet, Op. 67


Act I Scene 1: Melodrame: First appearance of Ghost

Act I Scene 4: Fanfare: A Flourish of Trumpets

Act I Scene 4: Melodrame: Appearance of Ghost to Hamlet

Act I Scene 5: Melodrame: The Ghost tells Hamlet of his father's murder

Act II: Entr'acte: Prelude to Scene 1 and first appearance in the play of Ophelia

Act II Scene 2: Fanfare: The Dumb Show enters

Act II Scene 2: Fanfare: A Room in the Castle - Flourish

Act III: Entr'acte: Prelude to Scene 1 which features Hamlet's soliloquy

Act III Scene 2: Melodrame: The Players enact the Scene of the Poisoning

Act IV: Entr'acte: Prelude to Scene 1 - A Room in the Castle

Act IV Scene 5: Scene d'Ophelie: Elsinore - Ophelia's Mad Scene

Act IV Scene 5: Deuxieme scene d'Ophelie: Re-enter Ophelia, fantastically dressed with straws and flowers

Act V: Entr'acte: Prelude to Scene 1 - A Churchyard

Act V Scene 1: Chant du Fossoyeur

Act V Scene 2: Fanfare: Trumpets sound

Act V Scene 2: Marche finale

Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet (original 1869 version)

BBC Music Magazine

February 2009


“The best music, in the Entr'actes, comes from elsewhere - namely a much more distinguished stage project, The Snow Maiden, the alla tedesca of the Third Symphony and the rather lovely Elegy in Honour of Ivan Samarin. Jurowski seems to care here especially for the latter. The rest is played with spirit by a Russian National Orchestral sounding in increasingly better shape - it still has some way to go - and Ophelia's music is affectingly sung by the lovely lyric soprano Tatiani Monogarova.”

The Independent on Sunday

14th December 2008

“Vladimir Jurowski’s highly focused conducting makes Tchaikovsky’s overture and incidental music for ‘Hamlet’ leap off the page. A galvanised Russian orchestra displays blistering strings, pleasingly punchy woodwind…a must-buy disc.”

Gramophone Magazine

March 2009

CD of the Month

“Think you know your Tchaikovsky? Think again…..Hamlet gives us a glimpse into a composer with a theatre director’s sensibility – he knows when to lend urgency to the players without overwhelming them, the music heightening but never upstaging….Jurowski and his forces offer playing of drive and passion.”

Gramophone Classical Music Guide


“At first glance this might look like the traditional pairing of Tchaikovsky's two fantasy overtures – but you might have known that Vladimir Jurowski was likely to be more inquisitive than that. In 1891 a complete stage performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet took place in St Peters- burg with music by Tchaikovsky. His fantasy overture, written for a charity event three years earlier, was heard again, this time filleted to roughly half its original length and reduced in scoring to the requirements of a theatre orchestra.
The results are fascinating, not least for the ingenuity of Tchaikovsky's cut-and-paste job, jump-cutting now with renewed urgency. Of course, one misses the symphonic weight of the original. The effect is more muted here, the scale diminished so as not to pre-empt that moment in the actual drama. But Ophelia is more than ever at the heart of the piece, her plaintive oboe melody very much dominating this version and exquisitely played – as is everything – by the Russian National Orchestra, whose refinement has opened a new chapter in Russian orchestral playing. Ophelia's first entrance, incidentally, is none other than the graceful 'Alla tedesca' second movement of Tchaikovsky's Third Symphony, the Polish.
How's that for recycling? And there's more with the Prelude to Act 4 scene 1, a poignant string elegy turned on wistful arabesques. That is one of the more substantial of the 16 clips and touchingly foreshadows Ophelia's tragedy. She – the lovely Tatiana Monogarova – has a twopart Mad Scene or 'melodrama' where the spoken lines lend a stark reality to her delusions.
Those who know the original 1869 version of the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture will be aware that it's another example of how much more interesting, though not necessarily better, a composer's first thoughts can be. Fascinating is the earlier premonition of the great love theme and the way Tchaikovsky quite literally tosses it about in the more radical and certainly more violent development of the fight music: all gone in the revision! Jurowski savours the differences and makes capital of the anomalies. Very exciting.”

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