An Adagio smooth as soft snow
What a magnificent work! It is now accepted that Tchaikovsky's First Symphony is no youthful folly and is far too seldom played. Nevertheless, if conductors, instead of seeking superficial showiness, were to offer Dmitri Kitaenko’s authentic craftsmanship the work might be better known. Kitaenko engages strongly with this work in order to maximise its deep-seated Russian character, its melancholy and its colouring. He is magnificently supported by an enthusiastic Gürzenich Orchestra on top form. (…) Central to the work, however, is the second movement, which I just had to listen to twice more straight after the first playing. Such expressiveness, right from the start! (…) It could not be more movingly shaped. If you still haven't got goosebumps from this, then you will at the climax of the Adagio with the recapitulation of the second theme, which Kitaenko navigates with almost uncanny tranquillity. (…) These are three minutes of Tchaikovsky at his very best. And once you have heard them under Kitaenko's direction, you will be in fits of laughter at the showiness that other conductors from Karajan to Jurowski afford this passage. (...) These three minutes are impeccable examples of just how wonderful an interpreter and conductor Dmitri Kitaenko is.
Pizzicato Supersonic Award
Remy Franck, Pizzicato, September 2012