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Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, May 2014

This may be the best installment in Kitaenko’s entire cycle, and the earlier ones were very, very good. But here the Gürzenich Orchestra plays for the conductor in a way I’ve not heard before. The ensemble’s players sound absolutely inspired, rising to shattering brass and timpani climaxes, then falling back to caress the delicate tendrils of Tchaikovsky’s wispy flute and clarinet filaments. This is extraordinary playing, and Oehms’s SACD recording penetrates deep into the orchestra to hear and convey it all.

Strongly recommended. © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor, February 2014

The noted Russian conductor Dmitrij Kitajenko concludes his survey of the six numbered Tchaikovsky symphonies and Manfred with this final recording in the series, the Fourth Symphony. As he did in his previous outings, he is able to inject a little new life into an old warhorse.

Under Maestro Kitajenko’s direction, the opening fanfare sounds elegant and regal, developing smoothly into its flowing, ballet-like second and third segments…he draws out the melodies confidently, leaving us with an unmistakeable feeling of optimism. What’s more, the venerable Gurzenich Orchestra Cologne play richly and effectively for him, giving the performance a rightful luster and polish.

While I’ve never thought the Andantino that follows as one of the composer’s most inspired pieces of writing, I admit it does help bring the music (and the listener) back down to earth after the exhilaration of the first movement, and in a few minutes it does finally open up nicely. It is…this second movement that works best for Kitajenko. His relatively relaxed approach appropriately expresses the music’s overall tranquility and its touch of Russian melancholy.

There follows a playful little Scherzo, providing further relief before the big finale. Kitajenko projects the pizzicato rhythms of the movement with a charming ease, his gentle view of these capricious imaginings as delightful as any you’ll hear.

Then there’s the concluding movement with its famous Russian folk song and its abundance of energy…Kitajenko does for the most part have the measure of the music and imparts to it a noble sense of Russian spirit.

The coupling on the disc is Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien…Here, too, Kitajenko is at his best in the quieter moments, which are quite beguiling. This is a pleasantly amiable Capriccio

The sound is very full and widespread, slightly soft and warm…The engineers capture the dynamics fairly well, with moderate transparency in the midrange… © 2014 Classical Candor Read complete review

Robert Benson, February 2014

Dmitri Kitajenko concludes his fine Tchaikovsky symphony on Oehms with this splendid performance of Symphony No 4. Solid musical values here, superb playing and pleasing audio…The SACD is filled with with one of the best…performances…of Capriccio Italien you’ll ever hear. A worthy issue to the Tchaikovsky catalog. © 2014 Read complete review

Blair Sanderson, January 2014

Dmitri Kitayenko and the Gürzenich Orchester Köln have…demonstrated a great affinity for this composer…the sound quality is exceptionally clear and focused, thanks to the label’s fine audiophile technology. This is Romantic music in every sense, and Kitayenko employs a reasonable amount of rubato to heighten tension, and the orchestra plays with passion and intensity…But most listeners in the market for a recording of the Fourth will find this performance quite acceptable because it is comfortably predictable, and the reliability of the Oehms label for excellent hybrid SACDs makes this a good choice. The filler work is the sunny Capriccio Italien, and if the Gürzenich players are intense in the Fourth, they are exuberant in this catchy showpiece. Anyone building a library of classical SACDs would do well to consider this package. © 2014 Read complete review, December 2013

The final entry in Dmitrij Kitajenko’s Tchaikovsky cycle for Oehms confirms Kitajenko as one of the best Tchaikovsky interpreters today and one of the most sensitive to the changing moods of the symphonies. The huge tone-poem-like first movement of the Fourth is highly dramatic here…by and large, what Kitajenko does is to give Tchaikovsky his due both in pacing and in orchestration, allowing the music its natural flow and making the symphony both expansive and highly dramatic. Capriccio Italien is nicely done, too, helped by the outstanding playing of the brass of the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln. This is a notably successful recording whose very fine SACD sound aptly complements Kitajenko’s careful attention to instrumental balance and the overall presentation of works that, despite their familiarity, still seem fresh and new when conducted with this level of care and enthusiasm. © 2013 Read complete review

Dave Billinge
MusicWeb International, November 2013

This completes Kitajenko’s cycle of the seven standard Tchaikovsky symphonies, including Manfred.

Though I have not heard all of Kitajenko’s Tchaikovsky recordings, this present issue fits the approach he has taken in 1, 6 and Manfred…of adopting broader…tempi than most but being prepared to use considerable rubato as required. A conductor of his pedigree, Russian born and trained, fourteen years with the Moscow Philharmonic must know this music extremely well and any interpretive decisions he takes must be respected. Additionally, he uses the magnificent Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne who must rank among the finest in the world…

The opening of the 4th Symphony is broad and very impressive. This is large scale Tchaikovsky and sounds really epic. With Kitajenko’s usual penchant for rubato it works very well. The big climaxes often involve an increase in tempo which drives the drama forward. His detailed attention to the dynamics in the coda round off this first movement most effectively.

This present disc is top class…and well worth the purchase price.

The Capriccio Italien is given a very slow opening…Overall this performance works because of the wonderful orchestra and lovely sound… © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

John Miller, October 2013

…in my view this is the best performance of the OEHMS-Kitajenko Tchaikovsky symphony cycle, and even though it was not the last recorded, its status as a brilliant finale to the whole project is very appropriate.

Kitajenko provides a mature and fresh-sounding Symphony 4, with exceptional response from the Gürzenich players.

Playing and direction of this calibre demands a recording of stunning fidelity and perspective, and that is just what we get, in the Studio Solberger venue, one of the most successful in its acoustics of the several used during the cycle.

Collectors of the Kitajenko Tchaikovsky discs will not be disappointed by this final release…This is a highly competitive version of the Fourth, and well worthy of hearing, whatever your Tchaikovsky preferences. © 2013 Read complete review

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