Customer Reviews


16 Reviews
5 star:
 (9)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cleaned up very nicely
Since much has already been said of the interpretations on these discs, I will restrict myself to siding with those that consider them to be at or near the top of the best-ever list.

My first acquaintance with these recordings was in the 1960s, when I was beginning to collect LP records. Mravinsky saw to it that the Pathetique became my favourite symphony, and...
Published on 22 Oct 2009 by Mr. John Manning

versus
26 of 46 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment
As an infant school child in the 50's one of these symphonies would often be playing when I went to bed at night as my father relaxed to his monoural record player, and I am sure they were a significant factor in my life-long love of music. It is certainly where I learned what 5/4 time was! But in spite of these pieces being so familiar I found the orchestral balance of...
Published on 17 May 2009 by Dartmoor Kid


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cleaned up very nicely, 22 Oct 2009
By 
Mr. John Manning (Penarth, Vale of Glam Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos.4, 5 & 6 "Pathetique" (DG The Originals) (Audio CD)
Since much has already been said of the interpretations on these discs, I will restrict myself to siding with those that consider them to be at or near the top of the best-ever list.

My first acquaintance with these recordings was in the 1960s, when I was beginning to collect LP records. Mravinsky saw to it that the Pathetique became my favourite symphony, and it has remained so ever since. Herbert von Karajan also recorded these works for Deutsche Grammophon, and it is arguable that he achieved finer recordings from a technical standpoint - he was apparently passionately interested in high fidelity reproduction. I preferred Mravinsky's readings, however.

Having been disappointed with CD reissues of recordings that I valued on LP, I approached these with some scepticism. Let me say at once that I consider DG to have done a fine job of re-mastering, and I was relieved not to hear tape hiss, wow and flutter, distortion, or any other problem that could have been associated with the original 1960 analogue recording; indeed I had not heard them as clearly previously on vinyl discs. The frequency response is fine, wider than I feared it might be, and the dynamic range acceptable. That just leaves the quality of the original orchestral balance to be considered, now clearly revealed.
These are studio recordings, made after a series of concerts. Incidentally the sleeve notes state that the first and second violins were placed antiphonally for the concerts, but together for the recordings. Also it may be of interest that the 5th. symphony is split over the 2 discs. The vibrato used by wind instruments is brought to the fore by close microphone placement; brass and woodwind are balanced forwardly, the reeds very 'reedy' and the trumpets brash. Overall however the balance is good enough to hear the necessary detail, and there is a pleasant degree of reverberation. Plus points abound, the final movement of the Pathetique being especially impressive.
As for the minuses, I miss the bass drum in the final movement of the 4th. symphony and in the 3rd. movement of the Pathetique. Presumably the fairly high overall level, useful in overcoming tape hiss and vinyl granular noise, did not allow enough headroom for the large power of the bass drum, and it suffers in the mix. I also feel that the last movement of the 4th. symphony is a little low in level compared with the other 3 movements.

And that's about it. Does this issue compare with the best modern recordings? Technically, not really, but it comes close, and the music will soon make you forget it's shortcomings.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tschaikovsky on overdrive, 18 Mar 2009
By 
Niels Erik Jamber (Stockholm Sweden) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos.4, 5 & 6 "Pathetique" (DG The Originals) (Audio CD)
This is the best rendition I know of these symphonies. There is nothing modest or compromising in this interpretion, and I appreciate that in this case. Whithout beeing insensitive or sentimental Mravinskij imbues the music with heavy passion, which to me is very relevant and in accord with russian tradition - I can feel the spirit of old Russia, the age of Dostojevskij.

This is classical music for rock lovers (I am that too)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE REAL RUSSIAN SOUND, 25 April 2007
By 
Klingsor Tristan (Suffolk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos.4, 5 & 6 "Pathetique" (DG The Originals) (Audio CD)
I have to admit to not being one of Tchaikovsky's greatest fans. It is one of those deadspots in one's love of music that I've no doubt is my loss. A master melodist, certainly. But I find him too repetitious; all that interminable sequencing seems more of a nervous habit than a genuine means of musical expression; and, yes, he does wear his highly Romantic heart on a sleeve that seems a little threadbare on real musical content for a symphonist. So a recording has to go some to capture my attention, never mind my affection.

These recordings certainly go some. And then some more. You'd be hard-pushed to find performances of anything that maintain such a white-hot level of intensity throughout three fairly long symphonies.

When Mravinsky brought the Leningrad Philharmonic to the West in 1956, both conductor and orchestra were a pretty unknown quantity. It was the height of the Cold War and, while a reputation preceded them, no-one was quite sure what to expect. Mravinsky and his assistant, Kurt Sanderling, shared the conducting of these last three Tchaikovsky symphonies and recorded them in mono then. Many listeners prefer those recordings to these stereo remakes of 4 years later. Personally, I prefer the later versions. It's good sound for its period, if slightly edgy in a way that suits the Leningrad sound well. It's in stereo. And you get Mravinsky in all three symphonies.

He is a master of this Russian repertoire - making it sound and feel very Russian indeed. He is certainly not afraid of bending and shaping things to his individual view of the works. There is usually a fairly heavy foot on the brake before lyrical second subjects. There is an impetuosity about faster movements that often requires modifications of tempo later on. Rubato is frequent, often indulgent, but never wilful - it's always used to clarify texture, to give a melody it's full weight or to emphasise structure (where there is structure rather than just a succession of events!). The brass fanfares of the very opening of the Fourth Symphony will have you on the edge of your seat and you will likely stay there for the rest of the 2-disc set. The pizzicato Scherzo has real style and panache. And the Finale sets off at an absolutely electrifying zip - a zip which it maintains right through to the end. And so it goes on through all these symphonies. The Pathetique in particular comes across as a real symphony rather than a wallow in Russian morbidity. There is huge power in the march. And the Finale plumbs true depths. Make no mistake: these are very special performances.

Mravinsky had the reputation of being a dictator in front of an orchestra. Certainly the sound that he elicited from his Leningraders was very distinctive. Compared to the homogeneity of sound that we get from today's international, jet-setting orchestras where they all sound like clones of each other, it is sad to see the passing of these `national' schools of orchestral timbre. The Leningrad Philharmonic in those days boasted strong, virile yet warm string playing, a distinctively edgy tone to the woodwind that is excellent for penetrating dense orchestra textures (perhaps their instruments were less than the best and the lack of top-quality reeds in the Soviet Union may have had something to do with it, too), a certain stridency in the trumpet section and that totally unique Slav sound in the horns - lots of vibrato, slightly wobbly even, but based, they said, on the human voice. They all play like demons for their long-term conductor. These are thrilling, moving, cogent, committed ensemble performances, all three. And, while I don't yet count myself a complete convert to the Tchaikovsky cause, I'm certainly ready to proselytise on behalf of exceptional music-making like this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TESTAMENT, 14 May 2006
By 
DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos.4, 5 & 6 "Pathetique" (DG The Originals) (Audio CD)
Shaw once said loftily that Tchaikovsky has a thoroughly Byronic ability to be intensely tragic about nothing much. Without going quite so far, I'd certainly agree that a certain sepulchral tone and a propensity to whip up frantic emotion come to him easily. I don't think I ever heard the start of the 5th symphony expressed with quite such cavernous gloom as it is on this set nor the frenzy more frenzied, and that is exactly how I like it all done.

This set dates from 1960, the height of the cold war, and at that time Mravinsky had been very little heard in what we used to call 'the west'. It was a period when western critics were inclined to favour a smoothed-over play-safe school of interpretation of the musical classics. This had something to be said for it as a reaction against the libertarian excesses of some previous schools, but it descended into a facile mediocrity based to all intents and purposes on checklists and box-ticking, reaching its nadir in the 70's and 80's when the main aesthetic preoccupation in many commentaries was the issue of how many repeats had been observed. Myself, I am thoroughly in favour of professionalism from professional musicians, but on the other hand I don't find checklists a very illuminating guide through the gardens of the muses. It also seemed to me that our ideas of how to play Tchaikovsky were probably too influenced by our ideas of the Viennese classics, and the advent of Mravinsky in London came none to soon.

It was enlightening to me to compare Mravinsky's account of the 4th symphony with a fine modern version from Abbado and the Vienna Philharmonic. On the checklist approach Abbado does very well indeed. I don't impugn the professionalism of the Leningrad orchestra in any way when I suggest that they are not quite the equal technically of the Vienna players, something I noticed particularly in the pizzicato effects in the third movement. However when it came to the question which interpretation had the greater individuality and sense for the composer's idiom, the answer was not long in coming. Put simply, Mravinsky's performance is an event, and Abbado's, by comparison, is not. This is not a matter of taking undue liberties with the tempo. The 4th symphony does not call for that, and Mravinsky deploys only a very normal ebb and flow. The tone-quality has more to do with it, and I find myself bewitched by the penetrating sound of the Leningrad woodwind and brass, but most of all it's a matter of the expression. A great interpretation of Tchaikovsky must put across a sense of neurosis without losing control. Quite apart from the tragedy, gloom and semi-hysteria there must be a tense and nervy feel to the gaiety, and the lyric sections should seem like balm on wounds, and these are the senses I get uniquely from Mravinsky.

When it comes to the 5th , the liner-note has some fairly superficial and noncommittal remarks about freedom of tempo and 'authenticity'. The issue here seems to me to be that Tchaikovsky is trying to achieve something more distinct than before from the Viennese style. The tightly integrated structure of a first movement at which Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms were so adept was not his natural style, and he lacked their mastery in varying the lengths of musical phrases. His first movement is more a succession of short episodes, and without labouring the question of authenticity I'd say that the sense of the music demands a certain amount of flexilibity, although this composer does not micro-specify the details in the way Mahler does. As a comparison from a different standpoint I played my version from Celibadache. By contrast Mravinsky sounds the soul of 'correctness', notably in the first movement where Celibadache starts the allegro at a funereal pace, getting much faster a little later. I don't recommend it as any model, but it has the feel of real Tchaikovsky to me, and I prefer it to any 10 spick-and-span western versions. So does Mravinsky, and I appreciate the comment in the liner that he shows some of the virtues of Toscanini and of Fuertwaengler combined.

With the 6th Tchaikovsky has finally got his formula right. Instead of a seamless Viennese first movement he writes great separate blocks of music, and Mravinsky plays the effect up with long pauses between them. In the finale he abandons 'cyclic form', which doesn't amount to a form but is just a matter of bringing back themes from earlier movements in the finale. Brahms's 3rd shows how the thing can be done, but late romantic symphonists in general are not such musical aristocrats as Brahms. The device is something I learned to dread. Dvorak uses it, but not in his best works, it lets down even so great a composition as Franck's symphony, and in Tchaikovsky's 5th the matter is carried to such excess that it takes Mravinsky or Celibadache to make it tolerable to me. The 6th leaves all that behind, and I never heard a performance to equal this. I recall some comment many years ago to the effect that this 1960 stereo version is not the equal of his 1956 epoch-maker in mono, but I own both and I find little to choose.

This set, for me, is what Tchaikovsky is all about. The orchestral discipline is total, the sound is thrilling (compare Mravinsky at the start of any of these symphonies with anyone you like), this that and the next detail is better than in any other version, but it's the overall sense of communication of the personality of Russia's greatest composer that grips me. The question that the liner poses in its last paragraph is a false antithesis. The 6th shows Tchaikovsky at the height of his powers and is also a suicide note. Blackmail can never have had so eloquent an outcome.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tchaikovsky symphonies, 25 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos.4, 5 & 6 "Pathetique" (DG The Originals) (Audio CD)
These are legendary recordings by a great conductor of Tchaikovsky's three great symphonies. Mravinsky and the Leningrad Philharmonic recorded these in London and Vienna in 1960. Its hard to believe they are over 50 years old the sound quality is amazing. These are great performances.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to Surpass, 14 Aug 2009
By 
E. A. Redfearn "eredfearn2" (Middlesbrough) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos.4, 5 & 6 "Pathetique" (DG The Originals) (Audio CD)
To this day, the music of Tchaikovsky has remained popular throughout the world and its hardly surprising that recordings of his most popular works abound.

Because of his popularity it can be easy to take his music for granted, and to be honest, there is nothing worse than Tchaikovsky's music being poorly performed and recorded, and believe you me, I have heard some pretty dire versions over the years.

I am happy to report however, that this is not the case in this very fine box set of the composer's final three symphonies, the most popular he ever wrote. These works have been admirably performed and recorded and almost certainly, measured against future recordings, they will be difficult to surpass.

Of course, the Leningrad Philharmonic is such a fine orchestra in its own right and certainly could not perform these works in a routine or slapdash fashion. Moreover, Evgeny Mravinsky holds the orchestra in such a way preventing it from running away with itself and drawing out some lovely playing especially from the strings, woodwind and horns. Listen for example to the horns of Symphony no 4 in the opening bars; the strings in the third section of the first movement of symphony no 5, makes the listener sit up and take notice, almost making his hair stand on end too.
Both works are admirably performed and recorded.

The 6th Symphony, the composer's final work completed only a few weeks before his death, has always been a great challenge for conductors and orchestras alike. This may be because it is the composer's most personal work. The rift between Tchaikovsky and his patroness and friend Madame Nadesha von Meck affected him deeply. Moreover, he may also have felt that his life was coming to a close and that is reflected in the haunting final movement of the 6th "Final: Adagio lamentso-Andante."

The finest version of the 6th I can recall over the years was Karajan's famous recording with the Berlin Philharmonica recorded by DGG during the late 1960s. I never thought that would be surpassed, until now.

Mravinsky and the Leningrad have now recorded what I believe to be the best version of the 6th, not only matching but surpassing Karajan's version in every movement. It now has to be regarded as the definitive version currently available. The string playing in this final movement is superb by the way.

Even if you already have versions of these works in your collection, I would thoroughly recommend this very fine box set which is also superbly priced. Would be a shame to miss it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leningrad Philharmonic Orch., 15 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos.4, 5 & 6 "Pathetique" (DG The Originals) (Audio CD)
Conducted in the true Russian style. Dramatic, exciting and inspirational. I have other performances of these works but these works are head and shoulders above these. Of course it is purely subjective and I'm sure many will disagree. Lionel Dossett.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Puzzled, 22 Feb 2012
By 
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos.4, 5 & 6 "Pathetique" (DG The Originals) (Audio CD)
Tchaikovsky was the first classical composer i took to in the 1960s. I first heard (& grew to love) No. 5 on vinyl (DG), conducted by EM; but this remastering left me feeling puzzled. The individual instruments don't seem to 'symphonize,' to gel into a full orchestral sound, as they do on the LP. Certain instruments predominate. Why is that? Or is it just me? Or perhaps my unsophisticated audio equipment?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tchaikovsky Symphonies 4-6 Leningrad Philharmonic, Mravinsky, 26 Dec 2009
By 
Professor A. G. Henley "Andy" (Aberystwyth, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought these recordings many years ago on a double DG LP which is now so heavily played that it is almost worn out. And the 5th was split between the two LPs which was always annoying. So it is an absolute delight to be able to download them in digital format. They are classic accounts of the last three Tchaikovsky symphonies, and one can just hear the pathos and desolation of the Russian steppes in them. The Leningrad Philharmonic brass sound is for my money unsurpassed. The Yevgeny Mravinsky recordings are now nearly 50 years old and I have yet to encounter another reading, historical or modern, which is anywhere near as good.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit ancient but indispensable!, 25 April 2011
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos.4, 5 & 6 "Pathetique" (DG The Originals) (Audio CD)
These are the stereo remakes of the earlier mono classics. The sound is satisfactory and the brass very Russian but the orchestral playing is magnificent. You might not choose these as your only recordings but they are an essential reference and a memorial to a very special conductor and orchestra. They are also very very exciting!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos.4, 5 & 6 "Pathetique" (DG The Originals)
Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos.4, 5 & 6 "Pathetique" (DG The Originals) by Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra (Audio CD - 2006)
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews