Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty; Symphony No. 4
Anatole Fistoulari
Label
Decca
Catalogue No.
4827223
Barcode
00028948272235
Format
2-CD
About

The Tchaikovsky ballet score recordings by the Ukrainian-born conductor, Anatole Fistoulari, are prized ‘as being among the finest ever made’ (Gramophone). As a companion issue to the abridged ‘Swan Lake’ and extended excerpts from ‘The Nutcracker’ on Eloquence (482 5225), this newly remastered set offers another pair of complete Decca albums both appearing for the first time on Decca CD: the abridged (mono) ‘Sleeping Beauty’ made in Paris in 1952 and the Fourth Symphony from 1971, recorded in Phase 4 stereo.

It is the sense of being present at a live performance that critics have always prized in Fistoulari’s ballet recordings. As an experienced conductor in the pit who (perhaps apocryphally) led his first opera performance at the age of 12, he had the still-rare knack of transferring the vital sense of dramatic narrative to the studio. Sleeping Beauty, the longest of Tchaikovsky’s ballets, was reduced in this version to roughly the length of The Nutcracker – an hour and three-quarters – which, when LPs required side turns every 25 minutes, was deemed quite sufficient by most critics and listeners who were still accustomed to attending similarly cut versions of the ballet live.

Although Decca capitalised on Fistoulari’s talents as a concerto accompanist and ballet director, the records of him as a symphonic conductor are all too rare which makes this dynamic, spacious and detailed account of the Fourth Symphony all the more treasurable. The tension and complex form of the first movement – Tchaikovsky’s single most innovative symphonic movement – is superbly handled and he secures quiet string playing worthy of any ballet conductor in the pizzicato Scherzo. It makes a notable addition to the symphony’s discography on CD and a worthy tribute to the art of an unjustly neglected maestro.

TRACK LISTING / ARTISTS

PIOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY
CD 1
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66
Prologue: The Christening
Act I: The Spell
Act II: The Vision

CD 2
Act III: The Awakening and Wedding

Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
Anatole Fistoulari

Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Anatole Fistoulari

FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA

Track previews
Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36, TH. 27: 1. Andante sostenuto - Moderato con anima - Moderato assai, quasi Andante - Allegro vivo
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act III: 20. Panorama
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Prologue: 4. Final (La Fée des lilas sort)
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Prologue: 3. Pas de six
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Prologue: 2. Scène dansante (Entrance of Fairies)
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Prologue: 1. Marche (Entrance of King and Court)
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act II: 12. Scène
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act II: 11. Colin-maillard (Allegro vivo)
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act II: 10. Entr'acte et scène
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act I: 9. Final (La Fée des lilas paraît)
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act I: 8. Pas d'action
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act I: 7. Scène (The Four Princes)
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act I: 6. Valse
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act III: 21. Marche
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act II: 16/19. Finale
Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36, TH. 27: 2. Andantino in modo di canzone
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act II: 15. Pas d'action - Variation d'Aurore - Coda
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act II: 14. Scène (Arrival of Huntsmen)
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act II: 13. Farandole: Scène - Danse
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act III: 30. Final: Allegro brillante - Apothéose
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act III: 28. Pas de deux: Aurora and Prince Desire
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act III: 26. Pas de caractère (Red Riding Hood) - Cendrillon et le prince Fortune (Allegro - Waltz)
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act III: 25. Pas de quatre: Adagio - Var. I-II - Coda
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act III: 24. Pas de caractère (Puss in Boots)
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act III: 23. Pas de quatre
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act III: 22. Polacca (Allegro moderato)
Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36, TH. 27: 4. Finale (Allegro con fuoco)
Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36, TH. 27: 3. Scherzo. Pizzicato ostinato - Allegro
The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, TH. 13, Act I: 5. Scène (The Palace Garden)
Recording information

Recording Producers: John Culshaw (The Sleeping Beauty); Gavin Barrett (Symphony No. 4)
Balance Engineer: Arthur Bannister; Iain Churches (Symphony No. 4
Recording Locations: La Maison de la Mutualité, Paris, France, 16–30 June 1952 (The Sleeping Beauty); Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 18–19 January 1971 (Symphony No. 4)
Original Decca LP Releases: LXT 2762/3 (The Sleeping Beauty); PFS 4225 (Symphony No. 4)

Reviews

‘The features that distinguish the excellent recording of [Fistoulari’s] Swan Lake are all present here. The orchestral playing is perhaps a trifle more stylish and suave in tone.’ (High Fidelity, October 1954)

‘Fistoulari is a marvellous Tchaikovsky ballet conductor.’ (Gramophone, December 1976)