Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Tchaikovsky, Silvestri, Philharmonia Orchestra|
Silvestri Conducts Tchaikovsky Symphonies 4 5 & 6
Silvestri's Virtuoso Philharmonia Tchaikovsky
Jeffrey Lipscomb | Sacramento, CA United States | 05/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's a crying shame that this set is now out of print. I am reviewing it to alert you to its merits, just in case you should come across a copy. The transfers here by Disky for its Royal Long Players series (licensed from EMI) are simply superb - FAR superior to what was heard on the original Angel stereo LPs. When it was available, this 2-disc set was also an incredible bargain: I bought my copy a few years ago for just $9.95 at Tower Records.
This set has far more to commend it than just a cheap price and great stereo sound. Silvestri here gives us what is arguably the BEST-PLAYED set of Tchaikovsky's last three symphonies ever recorded. London's Philharmonia Orchestra is in absolutely top form, and it responds magnificently to Silvestri's every nuance. However, the interpretations are a little controversial. These performances really got blasted by English critics when they were first released on LP: the playing was deemed too Romantic and excessively wayward. The opening brass fanfare of the 4th has a really odd little rhythmic "hiccup" that will drive purists up the wall (Silvestri consistently re-iterates it each time it re-appears throughout the symphony). Following it with the score, my reaction was "Well, I suppose you COULD read it that way."
But that eccentricity aside, the utterly gorgeous, warmly expressive playing here is just astounding. To my ears, it simply blows away the icily objective Markevitch readings on a Philips "two-fer" (which I have since weeded). Silvestri is a sharp contrast to the celebrated Mravinsky recordings, which feature a VERY Russian-sounding orchestra playing at high speed. While over-all I prefer Silvestri, the Mravinsky is certainly a valid and exciting approach (I only wish DG would do a 24-bit re-mastering - DG's glassy sound is far inferior to what Ditsky has provided for Silvestri).
For an integral set of symphonies 4-6, this Silvestri and the very different Mravinsky (hopefully the latter will be re-issued in better sonics) lead the stereo field, just as Mengelberg (M&A) and Koussevitzky (Biddulph) dominate the historic integral 4-6 mono category. And if your tastes run to the TRULY wayward, there's always the "live" 4-6 set on Music & Arts with the ever-unpredictable (and fascinating!) Stokowski.