I am one who believes that Tchaikovsky needs to be played by a Russian orchestra and conductor. In his interview on this disc, Gergiev says he believes a conductor must be a dancer to properly conduct Tchaikovsky. He doesn't mean on the podium,just understanding the dance. Judging by the seemingly endless plodding, dull, soul-less performances of these symphonies that have been churned out over the years by conductors who should know better, both of us are right!
My previous favorite video version of 4,5 & 6 has been by Fedoseyev and the Moscow Radio Symphony. They are very different from Gergiev's. The former does most things fast and faster, a bit like Mravinsky used to. Gergiev takes the scherzos in all three very fast, also, but in the other movements, he uses huge amounts of rubato, at some points almost grinding to a halt.Then he accelerates very quickly at climactic points - it's all very exciting stuff. The slow movements are very tender.
The Mariinsky Orchestra players(formerly the Kirov Ballet Orchestra) are wonderful. Their ensemble work is much better than Fedoseyev's band, which can get pretty ragged when pressed. They obviously know Gergiev's requirements - which are not modest.
Interestingly, he uses a baton for #4 - unusual for him. This is music-making of the highest order, and a screaming deal, if you get this disc (bluray)from Amazon UK.
Picture, editing and sound are flawless in the bluray version.
It's to be hoped we can get more from this source. Gergiev has been doing a lot of Mahler lately, in concert and #4 & 5 on dvd. Or how about some other Russian composers?
I still like my Fedoseyev a lot, but Gergiev is more interesting and introspective in this music. Don't hesitate.