Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A mixed bag like most Tchaikovsky collections
Larry VanDeSande | Mason, Michigan United States | 06/29/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There are people in the United States that believe this is one of the most airheaded Tchaikovsky sets in history, a disaster of Biblical proportions. In their most recent Tchaikovksy overview, American Record Guide editor Don Vroon wrote that one critic actually called these recordings "sickening". There is no question this evaluation says more about ARG than about the music, although many critics compare Abbado's Chicago Tchaikovsky recordings poorly against his Vienna recordings, which are still in print and available on a DG twofer (never mind that the Fifth Symphony -- one of the highlights of his Chicago cycle -- is split onto two CDs in the Vienna batch!) I am not of the opinion that the earlier performances are so great and I certainly do not believe the Chicago recordings are the sickening, perfunctory jobs described in ARG. I agree the Vienna Fourth Symphony is full of subtle maneuvering that virtually every other recorded performance in history misses. The Chicago cycle has fabulous recordings of the "Little Russian" and "Polish" symphonies, a great Fifth and a workmanlike Fourth. The add on symphonic music is a little bit hit and miss, as well, making this set better acquired in parts than in whole. Personally, I have always enjoyed the Symphonies 1, 2 and 3 in this set and never enjoyed the latter symphonies. They seemed to me to not only miss the subtlety Abbado displayed in his Vienna recordings, I thought they lacked the Slavic soul Russian conductors brought to the music. My analysis, then, is that this set is not unlike every Tchaikovsky set -- some good, some bad, some bland -- including the overrated, hyperactive and unmusical Janssons set with the funky Oslo Philharmonic. The greatest difference between this and other sets? This is Tchaikovsky played by one of America's greatest brass symphonies and conducted by a fellow that was ascending so greatly when he recorded this that he eventually got the Berlin Philharmonic Symphony job after Karajan died. That, I think, is a better way to look at this collection."