Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.1, Op. 13 & The Tempest, Op. 18


Pablo Heras-Casado enjoys an unusually varied conducting career—encompassing the great symphonic and operatic repertoire, historically informed performance and cutting-edge contemporary scores. He has served as Principal Conductor of Orchestra of St. Luke’s since 2011, now extended to September 2017. OSL began as a chamber ensemble based at The Church of St. Luke in the Fields in Greenwich Village. Today, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble consists of 21 virtuoso artists who perform a diverse repertoire and make up OSL’s artistic core. harmonia mundi are proud to release OSL’s debut album for the label featuring two of Tchaikovsky’s earliest notable works, both of which are dramatic and vibrant: Symphony No. 1, ‘Winter Dreams’ and ‘The Tempest’, a sprawling and turbulent seascape.

*Gramophone Magazine – Editor’s Choice (February 2017)*


“Pablo Heras-Casado has emerged as a conductor of perceptive insight and great talent: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 is not a work usually associated with making a statement, but this is a fascinating listen.” (Gramophone)

“Young Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado gets around. He’s the music director of the orchestra on this new recording of Tchaikovsky, but it’s as a guest conductor where Heras-Casado is making his mark. He’s omnipresent with the great orchestras of London, Vienna and Berlin. And while the Orchestra of St Luke’s is a fine group, I can’t help thinking that the next major opening will be his for the choosing.

The Orchestra of St. Luke’s is a major force in New York’s orchestral scene and has made some wonderful recordings — Charlie Mac’s Haydn symphonies with them on Telarc are superb. It’s nice to hear them stretching their legs on repertoire that maximizes the size of the orchestra. The orchestra is made up of the best freelancers in the city, a city with a massive pool of outstanding players.

Heras-Casado is also getting around the recording studio. Mendelssohn with Bavarian Radio forces and the Freiburg Barokorchester and as the most wonderful accompanist in Schumann Concertos.  The recording quality he receives from Harmonia Mundi engineers in many different venues is uniformly excellent.

He recently signed a contract extension with St. Luke’s. Nothing like a recording contract to snag an up and coming conductor. This first album from the team must be considered a success.

Two of Tchaikovsky’s early gems are included, Symphony No.1 (Winter Dreams) Op. 13 and The Tempest, Op. 18.

Both works receive excellent performances, with characterful solos and splendid ensemble work. At times, the heavy/loud orchestration in The Tempest overwhelms the smaller forces of St. Luke’s. But this is a small criticism of an otherwise fine performance. In fact, some of Tchaikovsky’s typical filigree woodwind work of both the symphony and The Tempest are among the best …

Heras-Casado navigates both works beautifully — the drama of The Tempest is captured by the brilliant recording. Audiophile quality all around. And the wonderful melodies of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 are conjured with magic. What a beautiful work this is. Heras-Casado’s performance reminds me of an early Boston/DG with Tilson-Thomas. All youth and vigor … Recommended.” (Audiophilia)

“Thanks to the great sensitivity of the southern Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, probably one of the very great podium magicians of the younger generation, the present new recording is a stupendous way of capturing all (light) moods that can conjure up the anticipation of snowy landscapes. Heras-Casado must also be a very powerful orchestral performer, for what he brings out of his Orchestra of St. Luke’s in differentiated sound, long tension arcs and atmosphere is truly a Philharmonic masterpiece. The melancholic dream of the first movement is as vivid as the program of the second movement, “Rough Land, Nebelland.”

{Die vorliegende Neuaufnahme bringt dank des großen Einfühlungsvermögens des südspanischen Dirigenten Pablo Heras-Casado, wohl einer der ganz großen Pultmagier der jüngeren Generation, in stupender Weise alle (Licht)Stimmungen ein, die das Vorbeiziehen verschneiter Landschaften heraufzubeschwören vermag. Heras-Casado muss auch ein ganz fulminanter Orchestererzieher sein, denn was er aus seinem Orchestra of St. Luke‘s an differenziertem Klang, langen Spannungsbögen und Atmosphäre herausholt, ist wahrlich ein philharmonisches Meisterstück. Das melancholische Träumen des ersten Satzes ersteht genau so plastisch und eindringlich wie das Programm des zweiten Satzes „Rauhes Land, Nebelland“.} (Online Merker)