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Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, July 2012

The current SACD may well blow your mind, if it doesn’t blow your sound system first.

This Tchaikovsky Fifth is of such persuasive power and eloquence it may just convince you that it’s the composer’s greatest symphony. Fate, seen as inner conflict and turmoil in the Fourth Symphony, is transformed in the Fifth into majestic triumph.

Kitaenko maintains a tight grip over the orchestra, profiling the march-like tread of the first movement’s main theme in sharp relief against the yearning second subject. The entire score, from beginning to end, is masterfully calculated as to tempo and timing of dramatic events to make the most of Tchaikovsky’s gradually building tension. But the best is reserved for the finale, in which Kitaenko unleashes all of that pent-up energy in one, huge, explosive paroxysm.

The Cologne ensemble, probably on no one’s list of the world’s top 10 orchestras, sounds like it should be. The players have obviously been drilled, disciplined, and prepared to within an inch of their lives, and they perform as if their futures hang in the balance on every single note. The brass section plays with a wonderfully smooth, blended sound that is at once mellow yet penetratingly focused, like high-beam headlights. The winds are bright and perfectly balanced. And above, or through it all, come the strings, rich and creamy with a slightly darkened finish that suits Tchaikovsky’s Russian sound so well.

This is not only a Tchaikovsky Fifth you may well listen to again and again to the exclusion of all others but it’s a demonstration-quality recording you won’t believe until you’ve heard it…this is urgently recommended. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, June 2012

The accomplished Gürzenich-Orchester Koln is one of Germany’s leading orchestras, both on the concert platform and in the opera house. As with the symphonic works of Mahler, the symphonies of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky have been extremely well represented in the SACD medium in recent years, but this is one of the most thoroughly idiomatic performances that the Fifth Symphony has received from the always persuasive Kitayenko. © 2012 Classical CD Choice

Karl Lozier
Positive Feedback Online, May 2012

It might be wise to take care when ordering this very deserving recording as the spellings on the disc are as follows: Tschaikowsky, Symphonie Nr.5 and Pique Dame Ouverture, Koln is known well as Cologne.

I am a lover of much of Tchaikovsky’s works and was rather quickly taken by a combination of the conductor’s efforts and interpretation. Also helping immensely is the particularly rock solid strength of the recording’s presentation of the orchestra. The members of the orchestra perform as if of one mind and execution with the conductor. Solid, exacting and musical keep entering my mind. Faultless playing by the performers seems to fit right in. It deserves what I have said and in particular what is forged here in the last movement, particularly up to that famous cadence change that fools newcomers into believing it is ending; I have never heard it done so well. Cheers and what a delightful change of pace for an encore with the Pique Dame Overture. No one needs to ask about my recommendation; it could not be greater. © 2012 Positive Feedback Online Read complete review, March 2012

No. 5 begins very slowly…but once the Allegro con anima begins, Kitajenko picks things up effectively, and for the rest of the symphony uses the wonderful sound of the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln to great advantage in a performance filled with vigor and warmth, abetted by really outstanding SACD sound. The Andante cantabile is especially lovely. …Pique Dame…is also played very well… First-class the performance is in many ways… © 2012 Read complete review

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