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.