This is better than I'd read
Alan Majeska | Bad Axe, MI, USA | 08/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Claudio Abbado's Sony recording of Tchaikovsky's least recorded symphony, the "Polish" in D Major (No. 3) is better than I had read in various publications. Abbado recorded all six Tchaikovsky Symphonies with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the late 1980s - 1991. He had previously recorded Symphony 2,4,5,6 in England with the Philharmonia, Vienna Philharmonic and London Symphony for DG in the 1970s. Some critics consider the earlier recordings superior to the later Chicago ones.
About the disc at hand, there is some sound engineering, but it serves the music. Abbado's allegros seem faster than some, and if they show off the virtuosity of the Chicago Symphony more than being completely in service to Tchaikovsky, I can live with that. The effect is thrilling, and the piccolo and flute parts are clear and well articulated in the recording job. (These parts are sometimes not heard in other recordings of this piece). On my stereo, this disc benefits from a boost of the bass and treble frequencies using the "loudness" control.
The final movement, "Tempo di Polacca" is taken at a fast pace, and the closing statement of Tchaikovsky's hymn like theme is thrilling: the orchestra sounds like 10,000 musicians playing perfectly in tune. OK, that may be an exaggeration, but you get the point. With the last chords you don't want it to end.
I would recommend this, along with Antoni Wit/Polish National Radio Orchestra (Naxos) for Tchaikovsky 3. For 1812, Abbado's is not the best recording I've heard. Bernstein/New York (Sony), Ormandy (Sony), Dorati (Decca, or London) are all preferable to Abbado in this piece. But if you buy this, it would be for Symphony 3, not the overture, and I recommend this for the symphony."