Symphony No. 3 In D, Op. 29 - Polish: 4. Scherzo. Allegro Vivo
Symphony No. 3 In D, Op. 29 - Polish: 5. Finale. Allegro Con Fuoco
Francesca Da Rimini, Op. 32
Igor Markevitch's Tchaikovsky performances have been among the best since the early '60s. He turned the unruly London Symphony Orchestra into a first-rate Tchaikovsky ensemble, in which a finely disciplined approach to rhy... more »thm provides the perfect foundation for some highly expressive music-making. The neglected Third Symphony is particularly cogent and exciting in Markevitch's hands. No lover of this composer should miss hearing these terrific discs. --David Hurwitz« less
Igor Markevitch's Tchaikovsky performances have been among the best since the early '60s. He turned the unruly London Symphony Orchestra into a first-rate Tchaikovsky ensemble, in which a finely disciplined approach to rhythm provides the perfect foundation for some highly expressive music-making. The neglected Third Symphony is particularly cogent and exciting in Markevitch's hands. No lover of this composer should miss hearing these terrific discs. --David Hurwitz
"Tchaikovsky's first three symphonies are immature in symphonic form, but Tchaikovsky more than makes up for it through his creative invention, colorful orchestration, and memorable melodies. The third symphony is often neglected, but is still as beautiful as anything Tchaikovsky does. The second is extremely memorable with the singable first movement to the typical Tchaikovsky finale which makes you want to jump up and dance. The first is very inventive, and the russian flavor permeates the whole peice. From the sparkling intro, to the tender second movement with rich harmonies, all the way through the ending that is really satisfying- the first symphony is my favorite of these three. Markevitch is the only conductor I love with these symphonies, besides Dorati. His energetic attacks and flowing musicality bring Tchaikovsky to life. The recording of Francesca da Rimini is one of the best I've heard also."
Very Straightlaced Readings
Jeffrey Lipscomb | Sacramento, CA United States | 05/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This super-cheap, extremely well-recorded Philips CD set of Tchaikovsky's first three symphonies is easy to recommend. The disciplined playing by the London Symphony is top-notch and Markevitch obviously knows his way around all three scores. So if you are looking for an inexpensive way to own Tchaikovsky's earliest symphonies in excellent stereo, this set strikes me as a clear first choice.
As for the interpretations, however, I have some misgivings about Markevitch here. He was unquestionably one of the 20th Century's virtuoso conductors: his pointillistically detailed style and cool precision are recognizable in just about everything he recorded. And, on occasion, he conducted Tchaikovsky with real expressive fire - his French Radio Orchestra account of "Romeo & Juliet" (Angel LP) is my all-time favorite, along with Mengelberg's (Andante - see my review). And his Philharmonia readings of Ravel's "La Valse" and the Shostakovich 1st Symphony are in a class of their own (EMI).
It's only when you do some comparing with individual symphony recordings by other conductors that the shortcomings of Markevitch's cool objectivity here become all too apparent. Perhaps the LSO is partly to blame - they simply don't sound very Russian to my ears. With Markevitch at the helm, the 1st symphony is more like wintry dreams than Winter Dreams, the Little Russian only sounds a little Russian, and the 3rd Symphony has too much polish and too little that's Polish. In a nutshell, there isn't much heart or soul on display here.
My preferred alternatives in these works are mostly old mono recordings that any self-respecting audiophile wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole: the Dante LYS CD of the Nikolai Golovanov/USSR Radio's impassioned #1 (recorded 1948) and the old Stradivari LP (re-issue needed!) of the 1st with Natan Rachlin and the Bolshoi Symphony (coupled with a wonderful #2); #2 played with warmth and insight by Beecham/RPO (Columbia LP) and an extraordinary "live" Second with Igor Stravinsky conducting the NY Phil. (available only in that orchestra's 10-CD "Historic Broadcasts" set); and the partially cut rendition of the Polish by Albert Coates on that conductor's volume in IMG's "Great Conductors" CD series. And finally - a modern recording! - there's an inspired "live" 3rd with Svetlanov (BBC Legends).
I keep this Markevitch set because 1) it's well-played and 2) it contains my only stereo accounts of #1 and #2. However, the icy chill of Markevitch's conducting in the Philips companion CD set of #4-6 was too much for me: I weeded it.
Recommended as an inexpensive collection in first-rate sound. But for genuine excitement, I listen far more frequently to the alternatives listed above."
The Best Early Symphony Recordings
Hermes Camacho | Boulder, CO | 01/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You can't find a better set of Tchaikovsky's early symphonies in one set. Markevitch has complete control over the London Symphony and they play these neglected symphonies beautifully.At a great price, this is the best (and only I might add) compilation to get!"
Brilliant early Tchaikovsky
Marc Haegeman | Gent, Belgium | 05/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tchaikovsky's Symphonies 1, 2 and 3 may not share the fame and popularity of the later three (neither in the concert hall nor on disc), yet they are nonetheless fascinating pieces of music from start to end. In Igor Markevitch they find the strongest advocate. Markevitch clearly had a natural affinity with this music and quite ideally caught the contrasting moods of these early symphonies. In this pioneering set recorded in the mid-sixties he always obtained strong, often exciting, incisive playing from the London Symphony Orchestra. An intense "Francesca da Rimini" with the New Philharmonia is offered as a thrilling bonus. The sound quality is excellent overall. Next to Dorati's set (on Mercury) this twofer is a clear first choice for Tchaikovsky's early symphonies - at any price."
Las mejores tres primeras sinfonias...
felipe | Chile | 12/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Este Cd de las primeras sinfonias de Tchaikovsky es verdaderamente grandioso, un director ruso a plenitud, la mejor orquesta del mundo al maximo y un conjunto maravilloso de obras musicales. Igor Markevitch logra en estas versiones lo que muy pocos logran al interpretar o dirigir estas tres sinfonias darles el toque justo de fuerza, sublimidad y poder; cada una tiene una mezcla clara de emotividad y sensibilidad, pero no falta espectacularidad, vigor y magnificencia, asi los primeros acordes de sueños de invierno estan sumamente alejados de la voragine de su andante lugubre-allegro maestoso del final, y Markevitch lo sabe y nos hace sentir que es la misma sinfonia pero que es diferente, sensible pero definitivamente explosiva. Sigue ese mismo camino las dos siguientes sinfonias llenas de momentos de rememoranza, de dulce sentimiento y tambien de fulgor y estruendoso color musical, geniales son obras maravillosas que suenan y se sienten increibles. La orquesta sinfònica de Londres es una de las mejores orquestas cuando el director que tiene al frente hace que este conjunto se ponga a disposicion del autor y la obra, extraordinarios. Para sumar y hacer inperdible esta coleccion Markevitch se hace cargo de una maravillosa Francesca da Rimini, soberbio."