Has anyone here purchased this? Are there libretti for the operas?
My set of The Tchaikovsky Edition arrived today. I bought it on Amazon
for £55 and received truly excellent service from the vendor: Regis Records
– Ordered on Monday, arrived on Tuesday. The set comes with a CD-ROM
containing Booklet notes and the words of the songs on disc. No libretti I’m
afraid for the operas as far as I can see (either in Russian, English or
Esperanto). I was particularly concerned about the sound of the Maid Of
Orleans (recorded in 1946) and it certainly shows its age but as often
happens, the ear soon adjusts to the sonic limitations, and 1946 sound for
the MoO is, after all, better than no Maid at all. I’ve only had the chance
to dip into a couple of other CDs and they’re fine.
Further to my earlier post, I have now had time to listen to several more
of the CDs in this box. As a general statement, the performances and
recordings of the orchestral works are fine and include an extremely
involving account of the Manfred Symphony by The LSO under Simonov. I have
now heard a couple more operas (Mazeppa and The Enchantress) in addition to
"The Maid". I'm afraid that I have to report that the recordings in all
three cases leave much to be desired - but if you take the view (as I do)
that a poor recording is better than no recording at all (which is the
unforgivable state with the lesser-known PITCH operas) then it's OK to have
this box until some better recordings come along. I used to have the
excellent Jarvi account of Mazeppa with Stockholm forces on DG. This is
still available I understand and I shall shortly be ordering it.
Another major disappointment for me with this box is the Piano Trio (with
David Oistrakh, violin) which I was immensely looking forward to hearing.
Sadly it too is let down but a most inadequate recording - muddy and badly
out of focus, as through the proverbial hosepipe. One would have thought
that the Brilliant team could have found a more up-to-date recording (the
Trio was recorded in 1948!) to complete what is otherwise fully acceptable
coverage of Tchaikovsky's chamber music - the performances and recordings of
the quartets and the superb string sextet "Souvenir of Florence" by the
Endellion Quartet are fully acceptable.
Just a final note on the opera libretti. I have been in touch with
Brilliant to ask, as they are not included in the accompanying CD-ROM, why
they don't put these on their website www.brilliantoperacollection.com which
has a section devoted to giving the libretti of operas not included in their
original CD boxes (I accessed the libretto of their reissue of Pinnock's
1991 Purcell's "King Arthur" in this way). The reply came that they would
"consider this" which presumably means "No Chance". If so, this is indeed a
Finally, the missing opera from the box "Voyevoda" (Tchaikovsky's first
serious essay in the form) is available from Russia via E-bay. It arrived
very recently although I've not yet had the time to listen to it.
Further to my last post in this thread of 5 November 2011, I am now
delighted to be able to report that Brilliant have now placed English
versions the librettos of both Cherevichki and The Oprichnik on their
So, two librettos in a year - hopefully they'll all be there by the end
of the decade.