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Stephen Francis Vasta
MusicWeb International, November 2017

As conductor, Breiner mostly displays a fine feel for this music’s expressive give-and-take, notably in ‘Hermann’s Aria and Finale’ and when building the climax of ‘Beauty! Goddess!’

The New Zealand Symphony plays with polished, full-throated commitment; in the lighter textures, woodwind solos are round and expressive. The sound is vivid, if slightly hard-edged at higher playback levels, so this can still be warmly recommended: you just don’t get many opportunities to hear this music, especially the Voyevoda material, and so handsomely presented at that. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), June 2013

With deftness and subtlety, [Peter Breiner] has taken themes from Tchaikovsky’s first opera, Voyevoda, to craft six richly scored movements. The Queen of Spades was composed in 1890 and Breiner’s selections fully explore the music’s romance and drama in their new form. © 2013 WFMT (Chicago)

WQXR (New York), June 2013

Think you’ve heard all the Tchaikovsky you need to know? This new recording by the New Zealand Symphony may offer a few revelations. Adaptations of The Queen of Spades and The Voyevoda bring out the operas’ sweeping melodies, colorful orchestrations and dramatic arcs. The playing is colorful and judicious throughout. © WQXR (New York) Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2013

Slovak-born arranger, Peter Breiner, brings together music from two of Tchaikovsky’s operas to form attractive orchestral suites. It cannot have been easy in the case of The Queen of Spades, as the score was built like a massive jigsaw from quite small melodic fragments, and finding continuous thematic material is not that easy. Using solo instruments to take the place of voices was the only way forward, and with this judicious use, Breiner has created a suite in seven divided sections, though it is difficult to capture the more dramatic moments which pass very quickly in the opera. I am full of praise for Breiner in achieving such a credible score. I can speak less of Voyevoda, the composer’s first opera completed when he was 26, as it is one of his major stage works I have not seen. Here Breiner has settled for six sections, one of which is a relatively easy recreation of the Dance of the Hay Girls, while material from the Overture is used in the suite’s Finale. He is one of the world’s most frequently recorded artists with over 180 titles already issued, and also appears here in his role as conductor with the New Zealand Symphony. They play well for him, and the recorded quality is most pleasing. © David’s Review Corner

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