Temirkanov takes a wild ride through the Tchaikovsky Fifth
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 03/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"RCA/BMG has made room in its catalog for two versions of the Tchaikovsky Fifth from Temirkanov -- one appears in his cycle of complete symphonies with the Royal Phil., the other dates from 1992 with the far more idiomatic, passionate, and better recorded St. Petersburg Phil. By releasing the St. Petersburg reading on a budget line, the company has given us one of the most intense, original, and thoroughly riveting performances I've ever heard.
I can understand why one press reviewer had a double reaction to this CD, first dismissing it for being too idiosyncratic, then coming back and recognizing its greatness. Temirkanov takes the Fifth more personally than any ohter conductor except Stokowski -- there are constant tempo fluctuations and extremes of dynamics between a whisper and a thunderclap. You wouldn't guess this from the fairly lukewarm statement of the "Fate" motif that begins the work, but it soon becomes evident that Temirkanov wants to shape every measure according to his own musical instincts. If that approach bothers you in general, this is a recording to stay away from.
But if you are in sympathy, be prepred for a wild ride. I've heard Temirkanov's complete cycle as well as other, more restrained conducting from him, but he's a different man here, a man on fire (as he is in his blazing account of 'Alexander Nevsky' on the same label). RCA obliges with a vivid recording from St. Petersburg that goes for maximum sonic impact. In all, a one of a kind reading that I'd call a must-listen"