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Tchaikovsky - Nutcracker Suite, Symphonie N°4

ImmerseelAnima Eterna: Jos van Immerseel

Zig-Zag Territoires: ZZT2030102

This new recording by Anima Eterna and Jos van Immerseel, intrepid explorers in search of a different slant on authenticity, is welcome and should not be overlooked.

(Whilst researching this recording, I chanced upon an internet resource compiled by Dr. Roger Peters, which I commend to interested readers: AN OVERVIEW OF PERIOD INSTRUMENT CDs (1580-1830) - This ZZT Tchaikovsky 4th (1877) finds itself included by Dr Peters, demonstrating how period instrument usage is constantly stretching, so that the very title of his site needs amending!)

We are living in a period when the well known 'canon' of classical music is re-recorded constantly, making for a glut and confusion in the record shops. Sometimes you can find more than one new boxed sets of the same music by the same company (q.v. Norman Lebrecht on DG's two new cycles of Beethoven piano concertos - and 435 Four Seasons!).

This version of two Tchaikovsky favourites however deserves to be picked out. It is a delight for its freshness and for shedding new light on music which everyone 'knows'. For his orchestra Immerseel sought "musicians with an ‘authentic’ bent and skilful command of a ‘romantic’ technique". The Nutcracker dances are individually pointed with charm and zest, and for the symphony the orchestra is small; Immerseel eschews the "inflated pathos branded as typically ‘russian' ’'.

Tchaik 4 has been a work I have tended to studiously avoid, but the Anima Eterna players have for me given it a new life.

Give the plethora of boxed sets a miss, whether new or bargain re-issues, and try this one!

Peter Grahame Woolf