Tchaikovsky's Second Symphony is the most psychologically unburdened of his symphonies, a work thriving on its folk melodies, and accordingly it must resound colourfully and brilliantly. It is in the safest of hands with Dmitri Kitaenko and the Gürzenich Orchestra. Sonorous, a substantial and nourishing orchestral delight to the ear, captured perfectly by the microphones, it maintains the transparency of the music in the face of a remarkable and psychologically accessible musical experience. Kitaenko brings power without heaviness, he creates excitement with a dramatic concept spanning across movements and a perfectly measured espressivo.
Leonard Elschenbroich plays the Rococo Variations with a warm intonation and an engaging legato. His dynamic gradients and rubato create a fine balance between rhetoric and emotion. Altogether his Variations are stronger, weightier than those of other cellists, who play airily and with more elegance. And yet this very personal interpretation has its own qualities which provide the work with new facets here and there, primarily dark facets, and in doing so bring out the differences in character between the individual pieces to a far greater extent than many of his colleagues.
Remy Franck, Pizzicato, January 2013