ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 5 - Yutaka Sado


PYOTRE ILLYTCH TCHAIKOVSKY - SYMPHONY NO. 5 - Slavonic March - Yutaka Sado (Conductor) - Deutsches Symphonie - Orchester Berlin - Hybrid SACD -
Challenge Classics 72356


A very fine new recording due for release in April 2010 of one of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's most seminal works, the Symphony No. 5 in E minor. A strong and persuasive reading by Yutaka Sado, who studied with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa back in the 1980's, that doesn't emphasize only the big dramatic moments of this work, but always keeps a firm grasp on the overall musical argument, and shapes and highlights many fine details along the way.

What makes this symphony so cohesive is the fact that the main motif, first heard on the clarinet right from the beginning of the first movement, can be heard in all four movements, not only giving the whole work a strong sense of unity, but also creating an emotionally uplifting element from the gloom and sadness of the beginning pages to the triumphant and noble Elgarian march at the very end of the final movement. It's obvious that Yutaka Sado's take on this symphony is based on these observations, and he shapes his interpretation to service the music as well as the emotional turmoils within.

The sound recording is pristine and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin musicians play with pinpoint accuracy, tenderness, and punchy bravado, all rolled into one. Unlike some other recent performances of this powerful symphonic work that were over the top, this one takes a more musically intelligent approach. It's like a Rolls-Royce - very classy and polished on the outside, but with plenty of muscle under the hood. Highly recommended!

Jean-Yves Duperron