Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Tchaikovsky, Muti, Philharmonia Orchestra|
Awesome piece, awesome performance!!!
Mike Sobocinski | Lansing, MI | 10/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don't settle for any less. This is an awesome performance, good recording and dynamics, and you'll get the complete version of the Manfred Symphony, complete with organ finale (not the hacked-up organ-less version given on some recordings in which the end of the first movement is tacked onto/replaces the original ending, simply because some other orchestra was unable to record with an organ!!).
If you've enjoyed ANY of Tchaikovsky's darker, gloomier, work, you HAVE to check this one out. The Manfred is HUGE; not a traditional symphony in the classical form (sonata structure, etc.) but more properly called "4 symphonic tableaux after Byron," I feel that this is Tchaikovsky's most astounding serious work. (And I own and am familiar with nearly every orchestral piece he's written...everything but a couple of very minor works that I couldn't find anywhere!) The first movement is deadly serious, like his "Francesca da Rimini" only not quite as loud; the scherzo is as witty as the Nutcracker and probably just as complex as the stuff from Tchaikovsky's Orchestral Suites; the slow middle movement is probably one of his most lyrical and flowing; the final movement starts with 5 minutes of dynamic and loud excitement, fades into an awesome ethereal episode (complete with harp!) comparable to "Reves d'enfant" from the Orch. Suite #2, proceeds through Manfred's absolutely riveting death sequence (were chords this loud EVER heard before this was written in 1888?) and the moving and haunting legacy - a dirge comparable to the stuff from the 6th symphony. Tchaikovsky recognized that his main weakness was often lacking smooth bridges between his themes, and a properly balanced structure, while his strength was as a melodist. Due to the loose "symphonic tableau" form, here we get the best of both worlds; the great melodies, the extremes of emotion, and a structure that, due to its programmatic nature, is extremely sound; brilliant contrasts rather than subtle bridges are clearly the composer's strength. This is the recording to buy!!! This is a full hour where you should be able to do nothing else except lose yourself in this captivating musical world. One of the best masterpieces of a romantic-period master!!"
A riveting, red-blooded "Manfred," still the one to beat
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 03/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On its initial LP release in 1982, this early digital recording from EMI was considered a sonic blockbuster; that consideration overshadowed Muti's interpretation, which is a blockbuster in its own right. He imparts more intensity to the music than a host of rivals (Jansons, Tilson Thomas, Chailly among them). Perhaps Toscanini served as a model, since he was fond of Manfred, too, and left a blistering recording with the NBC Sym.
The sound hasn't lost any of its impact, although the Cahilly version on Decca has perhaps surpassed it. What hasn't been surpassed is Muti's galvanizing commitment to the score -- he makes the Manfres Symphony sound like a masterpiece from beginning to end. Evvery climax swells to the maximum, every lyric line is sweetened, dramatic tension is kept at a fever pitch, and the rough pathces in Tchaikovsky's development sections go by unnoticed in the impetuous sweep of the performance. The Philharmonia plays with total involvement.
My only quesiton is why the swashbuckling young Muti developed so conventionally as the years passed. I also wonder why Bernstein and Karajan, who both recorded all six Tchaikovsky symphonies, neglected to record Manfred. Whatever the answer, this is an exciting reading, one of the best things I've ever heard from Muti.
P.S. - Don't extrapolate from this recording that Muti's complete Tchaikovsky cycle with the Philharmonia is equally intense -- mostly his interpretations are middle-of-the-road, and at times almost cautious. Strange."