I have known Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony for a very long time. I think it was the first classical recording I ever bought. This is an unusually personal work. One immediately senses that Tchaikovsky is telling a story through the music - an intensely personal and tragic story - and probably it is the story of the troubled composer's own life. On first listen, I was left stunned when the final chords died out. It is that powerful and moving. In my view this is Tchaikovsky's greatest work and I most critics agree on that as far as I know.
Abbado's approach is quite passionate, yet controlled with lots of attention to orchestral details. The orchestral playing is brilliant as expected from the VPO and this brilliance is helped by the good sound quality on this recording. Overall, for me, this is probably the best version of the 6th I have heard. For the record, the versions I have heard are Karajan's DG recordings (the former DG recording is better than the latter), Pletnev's on Virgin Classics (awful), Mravinsky DG recording (very good) and Bernstein's (over the top).
Finally, the Romeo and Juliet recording on this CD is definitely the best performance of that work I have heard on disc. I have two other versions, one of which belongs to the much lauded classy Pletnev DG set.