Russian National Orchestra/mikhail Pletnev : Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony


96kHz/24-bit FLAC, Pentatone PTC 5186387 (supplied by

Pletnev’s first recording with the RNO, Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique [Virgin Classics, 1991] created a sensation. He went on to record a complete symphony cycle for Deutsche Grammophon, which included a 1993 Manfred, and currently a Pentatone cycle is under way. What’s interesting is to find this new recording – made in a Moscow studio last April – has consistently longer timings, Pletnev adding 5m+ to his previous reading. It’s the proper score, rather than the cut ’n paste various Russian conductors offer. But, as so often, harmonium in the finale is replaced by a fulsome organ – dubbed in here from a Berlin church. (Only Markevitch followed the letter of the score here.) Superb clarity is greatly helped by antiphonal violins and Mikhail Pletnev – none too quiet himself – gets very fine playing indeed from an orchestra that still, thanks to the winds, sounds very Russian. CB

Sound Quality: 90%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

Though a 96kHz file, the audio content is filtered slightly prematurely at ~40kHz with an ultrasonic ‘bump’ reminiscent of downsampled SACD (obscured here by the high level content ending track 1). Good dynamics in the audioband. PM