Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Valery Gergiev, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra|
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6
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An instant classic in incredibly good sound
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 02/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Far more than the Tchaikovsky Fourth and Fifth that Decca recorded live with the Vienna Phil., Gergiev's Pathetique bids fair to be considered one of the great ones. The hybrid SACD sonics are so ravishing that it's hard to separate them from the performance. We not only hear every detail (even played thorugh two-channel stereo, as I do), the luscious, burnished timbre of the Vienna Phil. is captured exactly, a rare achievement on disc. There's also a special vibrancy from a live performance; everyone seems alert and involved.
Yet it's a nameless quality that makes this one of Gergiev's best recordings. Balances and phrasing are refined without being fussy, exhibiting this conductor's finesse with soft music, and power is held in reserve for tremendous climaxes. I had a sense of delight and can only marvel that Gergiev hasn't changed the basic outline of his interpretation since recording this work with his Kirov orchestra for Philips ten years earlier, a version I found workaday.
For the time being, this has become my favorite modern recording of the Pathetique. Highest recommendation."
A Performance for All Seasons
D. DEGEORGE | Ellicott City, MD USA | 01/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There may (or may not) be an error in one of the other reviewer's comments regarding the recording locale. I own Gergiev's Vienna Philharmonic set of Tchaikovsky's symphonies nos. 4-6 Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 4,5 & 6, in which it is no. 5, not no. 6, that is recorded in Salzburg. It is an important distinction to make because I thought that the recorded sound from Salzburg (originally by the ORF instead of Philips, although released by the latter) was the least satisfactory of the three last symphonies. It is thus difficult for me to believe, in view of the high praise I see among these reviews, that this symphony was recorded in the same environment as no. 5. If by chance this is a different recording from the one in the 3-symphony set, I would strongly recommend that the potential buyer check out that set before purchasing this recording of No. 6.
Proceeding under the assumption that this recording is the same as that in the 3-disc compilation, Gergiev and the VPO give a very convincing performance of #6, with gorgeous sound and great dynamic range. Gergiev remains within the bounds of convention, asserting his personality in fairly subtle ways. Once or twice this performance verges on just the slightest hint of an ensemble problem, but nothing that mars a near-perfect achievement. This interpretation carried me along with it and into the music without calling attention to itself. The last movement is a little tauter and more assertive than some others and thus doesn't completely wallow in Tchaikovsky's despair--it's still there in abundance but not exaggerated.
I was interested in hearing a more Russian-sounding interpretation, but with the Vienna Philharmonic we get a more beautiful and universally appealing approach, a performance for all seasons.
Wonderful recording of a masterful work.
Matt Curtin | Columbus, OH USA | 05/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first time that I heard Tchaikovsky's Sympony No. 6 (Pathétique) was in a live performance by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, with a guest conductor, Jerzy Semkow, as I recall. It was a spectacular evening, with the conductor and orchestra in perfect harmony, playing before an enraptured audience.
Granted, Symphony No. 6 is the kind of piece that lends itself to this kind of an evening. It's an amazing piece. The work was originally titled in Russian "Paticheskij," then recast into French as "Pathétique." Tchaikovsky himself said of the work that he put the entirety of his soul into it. On hearing it, I find myself reflecting on life from its beginning, along with the euphoria, tragedy, and everything else that comes in between experienced throughout the course of life. As I listened to the final movement (by all accounts broody, very unusual for a conclusion), an eerie sense of conclusion overtakes me, a sense of death. Only after I heard it for the first time and experienced those sentiments along the way did I learn that the conclusion was in fact prescient: nine days after taking the podium at the work's premier, Tchaikovsky was dead. On listening carefully, you might well find yourself deeply moved as I was.
I thought that it would be impossible to capture the magic of that evening at the Columbus Symphony with Maestro Semkow. Earlier this year, I found myself in a discussion of Russian Romantic composers, including Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. Wanting a friend who was unfamiliar with Tchaikovsky's Pathétique to understand my description, I looked for a good recording that might be sufficiently faithful to the kind of performance that I experienced.
When I played this recording of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra led by Valery Gergiev, I sat back and closed my eyes. Not ten bars into the first piece, I was pulled in. It's a very good performance, and the recording does the piece justice. There is no substitute for a good live performance but this is a recording that I won't hesitate to recommend."