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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a very fine performance but is short value at less than 42 minutes, 6 Mar 2013
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I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 (Audio CD)
This disc, recorded in 1984, was a continuation of the remarkably successful recorded début Jansons and his orchestra made with Chandos. That first disc, made of the Tchaikovsky 5, received rave reviews and in a very crowded field full of fine performances by respected conductors and orchestras, it became the top choice. This symphony 4 matched that success and Jansons' career and reputation was thus launched.

Thirty years later those early discs including this one have retained their position at the top of the recommended recordings and have since been boxed as a complete set. However, not everyone values all the earlier Tchaikovsky symphonies equally with the last three especially, so this single issue still has a place.

The performance is both sensitive, with much inner detail brought out, and exciting. This latter is achieved by forwardly moving tempi without becoming frenetic like some Russian performances. Climaxes bite home and this is also the result of finely honed and well-drilled orchestral playing. Jansons has also something of a reputation as a good orchestra trainer largely brought about by his success in turning the Oslo orchestra into a world class ensemble.

The recording retains all the clarity, depth and tonal faithfulness that it ever had and as such competes well with more modern recordings. It is a shame that the playing time is so short as this is the one very obvious minus point. On that score it would be worth mentioning that the famous recording that an apoplectic Szell made with the LSO in the early 1960s has yet to be matched for sheer drive, orchestral virtuosity and ultimate excitement. That comes with far greater playing time with good extras.

I would suggest that, if playing time is of no concern, this disc remains very competitive as a performance and recording. On that basis it deserves to be given serious consideration as a top contender. Szell's performance should not be ignored either for as long as it remains available.
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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 by Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky (Audio CD - 2000)
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