You need more than one recording of this piece
TchaikJP | Houston, TX United States | 09/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD defies words and explanations- it couples two of Tchaikovsky's greatest works. They are so great, in fact, that one cannot own merely one recording of them. This music of Tchaikovsky is so complex, that it is necessary to hear the many interpretations, and therefore the messages that these pieces can convey- ESPECIALLY the Pathetique. I mean, people write their Doctoral DISSERTAIONS on the Pathetique. You gotta get a ton of them, even ones you don't like. ON that note: a little about thsi recording: I love it, but you may not. It is firey, muscular, lots of gutty string attacks, and it is simultaneously extremely dramatic, yet so energetic, it never gets weepy, slow or draggy. SO- I like it. Mercury's sound is in your face, front row, bear-it-all kinda sound, and that works wonderfully to hear all of the tragic cries and doomed death blows, and whatever. It also give the woodwinds a wonderful true timbre, and I believe the clarinet in this recording (at the end of Mvt 1) is among one of the most beautiful solos I've heard based just on sound. Basically, you should own this, whether it is your favorite or not. Dorati's interpretations of Tchaikovsky's passion are always exciting, never boring or trite. Romeo and Juliet is the same way, also in your face in the loud parts, and in your face some more in the passionate parts. Can we say screaming violins? I love it. And I think it is what Tchaikovsky meant. SO- buy this. Own it. Listen to it, and take it apart in your head. At least once."
Tchaikovsky Goes Out With A Bang: Dorati Brings Out Russian
Rudy Avila | Lennox, Ca United States | 11/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"[...]Dorati was a prolific conductor and Tchaikovsky was one of his specialties. He understood, in an intuitive sort of way, that Tchaikovsky would not want to be remembered for just pretty ballet music or sentimental, romantically indulgent music. Tchaikovsky was a Russian, let's not forget, of the same stock that produced such composers as Modest Mussorgsky and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Mussorgsky and Korsakov were composers whose music was powerful, muscular and even harsh, like a snowstorm in the Russian winter. However, Tchaikovsky stood out in that he was perhaps the most Western-influenced/classically inspired composer. He adored Mozart and Beethoven. He wanted to combine beauty, grace and powerful Wagnerian punches. Dorati knew Tchaikovsky best, not we.
This recording finds Dorati in great form and he leads the London Symphony Orchestra in a riveting performance. The strings catch fire in some portions, there are genuine "attacks" and musical screams. This is warranted because this was Tchaikovsky's anguished farewell to the world. As a homosexual composer in Imperial Russia prior to Communist take-over, a time when Russia was Orthodox Catholic, he faced enmity and hatred. His life was as tragic as this symphony. Death looms big on this symphony. He was essentially writing his own requiem, and emoting his dolor in a bombastic way. After this symphony premiered (it was conducted by his brother Modest Tchaikovsky) Tchaikovsky was dead. Rumors abound that he committed suicide while others believe he was forced to drink poison by members of his music conservatory. He was killed simply for being gay. Years later, no one knows the names of those musicians but the name of Tchaikovsky will be forever remembered and his music played in concert halls throughout the ages."