Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Overdone performance, and abridged version!
Bryan Leech | Melbourne, VIC, Australia | 09/13/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This work is disregarded by some, and regarded by others as one of Tchaikovsky's finest works. Although technically not a symphony, but an extended tone poem that looks and sounds like a symphony, this is a work that provides rewarding listening. Composed with inspiration of Byron's poem, the original work, after rising to an extended climax in the fourth movement where a pipe organ enters at the peak of the climax, it then dies away to a quiet ending, in keeping with Byron's poem. At some stage, someone wanted an ending that would thrill the audience, and so nearly 8 minutes of the last movement was excised, and the grand ending of the first movement, with some elaboration, was spliced in. Of course, this clashes with the poem the music is intended to illustrate.
Svetlanov gives one of the most exciting and "Russian" readings of this work, and is aided by superb engineering. His orchestra gives responsive, full-blooded and accurate playing.
So why only three stars. The poem is rather sombre, and none of this is heard in this reading which, while exciting, is over exuberant to the composer's intentions. More serious is the fact that this is the mutilated version, this is not what Tchaikovsky intended.
In addition, other recordings that play the complete version (an extra 7-8 minutes) also manage to squeeze in a filler. At 50 minutes, the purchaser is a little short-changed. So, not only do you get a performance which, although it provides exciting listening, is not interpreted according to the true nature of the work, it is also not Tchaikovsky's original work.
So in total, I cannot recommend this recording when considered from all aspects. The Pletnev performance in the 3CD collection that includes virtually all of Tchaikovsky's shorter symphonic works, in equally authentic performances, is a much better choice. It is superbly engineered and excellent value for money. The interpretation of Manfred is as close as I think it would be possible to come to Tchaikovsky's intentions. I must add that I regard Pletnev as one of the best interpreters of Tchaikovsky I have encountered."