Carnival of the Animals (12) Camille Saint-Saens
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 - MTT & the San Francisco Symphony audio recording
Classic FM Album of the Week, 25 May 2015, after 10am
There are countless recordings of the symphony and it can be hard to know which to go for.
For a thrilling and brilliantly recorded version, look no further than this live performance from the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas. The conductor applies his trademark careful and faithful reading of the score while drawing deep on his Russian roots to bring out the full range of emotion and beauty of Tchaikovsky's writing, without resorting to overblown sentimentality. All of the orchestral colours shimmer and the memorable melody for solo horn in the second movement is very well executed.
As a bonus, there's the well-loved Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture, which Tilson-Thomas treats with verve, drama and sensitivity in all the right places.