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Daniel Morrison
Fanfare, September 2012

Poppen leads a very good performance of the “Little Russian” Symphony…the German Radio Philharmonic is a fine ensemble and plays with poise and precision, producing a clear, open texture with prominent winds. The strings seem a bit astringent, at least as recorded here. Winds and brass create a more consistently positive impression. In the “Little Russian,” the opening horn and bassoon solos are eloquently rendered, and the later exposed horn passages are also handled impressively. More eloquent and characterful wind playing can be heard in the second movement. Poppen’s tempos for this work are well chosen…The Scherzo is especially propulsive, and I like the way energy builds toward its peaks.

After a thoroughly creditable interpretation of the “Little Russian,” Poppen delivers an outstanding one of the elusive “Polish” Symphony, a work surprisingly difficult to bring off in performance

Poppen’s fleet, lithe, graceful treatment, on the other hand, is thoroughly persuasive. His tempo choices are unerring, and the transparent texture, prominent winds, and lively, committed, articulate playing of his orchestra are very satisfying. The first movement is urgent and energetic, building convincingly to exciting climaxes. The second-movement waltz has an appealing lilt and flow, while the third is appropriately graceful and elegiac, its lovely middle section eloquently shaped. The Scherzo is satisfyingly light and dance-like, while the finale is propulsive and exuberant, once again building at the end to genuine excitement rather than bombast. In Poppen’s hands, the “Polish” Symphony, often dismissed as Tchaikovsky’s weakest, emerges as a thoroughly convincing work.

The sound of the Oehms release is vivid, natural, clear, and free from harshness…

I recommend this release enthusiastically as a coupling of these two symphonies and as an alternative or supplement to any of the other recommended versions mentioned above. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Karl Lozier
Positive Feedback Online, July 2012

Finally, after many years I received a recording of Tchaikosky’s sublime beauty the “Little Russian”. This is one of my very personal favorite recordings. It is beautiful, melodic, and very upbeat and listening to it always puts me in a better mood…The performance is simply just fine with no obvious negative qualities revealed in the excellent audio quality revealed here, particularly in the SACD layer. For lovers of the so called ‘Golden Age of Recording,’ Dorati conducting the always great LSO, had a two disc set with all three of Tchaikovsky’s first symphonies in stereo. Readers may consider this reviewed recording to be highly recommended. © 2012 Positive Feedback Online Read complete review

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