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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking..buy now!!, 31 Aug 2011
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1-6; Ballet music, etc (Audio CD)
This is one of the best, if not THE best, cycles of Tchaikovsky Symphonies ever recorded. You can have opinions regarding Muti's approach to Schubert or Beethoven in his complete cycles, but Tchaikovsky seems to bring out the real genius of this Italian conductor. The performances are superb, the Philharmonia giving their mighty all for Muti, and the EMI recordings are top notch. This set, in one shape or another, has been in and out of the catalogue ever since first released, and is regularly deleted, so I really urge people to rush out and buy it now before it vanishes again. Avoid the Brilliant Classics issue, although it says on the cover Tchailkovsky's Complete Symphonies they omit the Manfred whilst including all the fill-ups. Not only is this somewhat misleading but it will deprive you of experiencing one of the most intense and riveting performances that the Manfred has ever received on disc, and there are many excellent recordings. Listening to the fill-ups with the Philadelphia Orchestra makes me regret that Muti never got to record the Tchaikovsky ballets complete. In my humble opinion music-making on record doesn't get any more satisfying, uplifting or thrilling than this, I'd give it 10 stars if I could.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!, 11 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1-6; Ballet music, etc (Audio CD)
To someone who thought he had heard a few too many performances of Tchaikovsky's music, these performances came as a revelation. Rarely if ever have I heard such exciting and passionate interpretations as these. Like all great conductors, Muti has his own particular sound, which is evident in London as well as in Philadelphia, though the latter's recordings are slightly more recent. The Muti sound is perfectly balanced, rich and full, enveloping the listener, with a wide dynamic range, impressive in its power. The string sound is notably lambent and full.

I have always thought "Manfred" unjustly neglected, even though written when the composer was at the height of his powers. In my view, it contains some of his greatest music. The Finale can sound a bit weak but it certainly doesn't here. The 3rd Symphony has always seemed to me the least convincing but under Muti it is played for all it is worth - and more.

There is a rare chance to hear the dazzling pianist Andrei Gavrilov. Whatever happened to him? He hasn't made a recording in years, despite many successes, yet is still only in his fifties.

The recordings do full justice to the playing - I admit to retreating to the back of the room on a first listening to the "1812 Overture" but in the event the "cannon fire" was highly impressive rather than deafening.

Strongly recommended, even if you have other versions of these works.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic set!, 2 Mar 2013
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81641 (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1-6; Ballet music, etc (Audio CD)
Don't hesitate to buy. It's so very good. Been a big lover of Tchaikovsky since I was 10 years old, now 53. Muti does him justice and more. The 6th stands out most of all for me, but only because it is my favourite. I've already ordered Muti's Beethoven and Schubert set, despite what some reviewers have said - most of which is technical twaddle or a matter personal taste. Thanks for reading.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Joy to listen to, 31 Dec 2012
By 
Mr. R. D. M. Kirby "Dick Kirby" (Suffolk, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1-6; Ballet music, etc (Audio CD)
Poor old Pyotr - what a confused and often unhappy lifestyle he must have led; and how fortunate we are for him to have channelled his emotions into such wonderful music. Whenever a box set is produced, there'll always be people who'll say, `Oh, why didn't they include ..?' and I suppose I'm one of them; but I'd be hard-pressed to do so on this occasion.

I'd really forgotten how good the first and especially the third symphonies are; and they're played to perfection with Riccardo Muti wielding his baton with precision and élan. The Manfred symphony was a joy to listen to, the 1812 Overture had me nervously ducking the cannon balls and the inclusion of Hamlet was a welcome addition.

Boxed and priced attractively, this set is a `must-have' for any Tchaikovsky devotee - as I am.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great deal of good music making for your money!, 1 May 2012
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Tintagel (St Albans, Herts) - See all my reviews
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This collection of Tchaikovsky performances surprised me somewhat. Hearing the New Philharmonia play Mahler'5 Fifth on EMI under Barbirolli I had convinced myself that the ensemble - at that time at least - lacked precision of ensemble and generally sounded slack (You've probably guessed that I do NOT buy the hype about this particular Mahler 5!). Oh how wrong was I!

The First enjoys tight ensemble with some very exciting moments. The dance rhythms really hit home in the Finale, thought the rest is scarely less enjoyable. Similar things could be said of 2 and 3, both of which enjoy plenty of wit and fun from Muti. The Fourth is really magnificent, not least because those powerful string lines in the First movement leave such a strong and resilient impression.

Wwe're spoil for choice when it comes to Fifths, but I can't imagine anyone being disappointed with this one. The slow movement didn't quite hold my attention as it can, but the rest was atmospheric. Similarly the Sixth didn't leave me shell-shocked in the same way that the Pletnev (Virgin version) does, but it's well played. I would have preferred a swifter pace in the opening minutes but really at this price I can't complain.

Manfred is very powerfullt wrought - just listen to the stuttering horns when the big tune comes along in the First and Last movements. The string really sing, too.

And if that's not enough to interest you then the 'fillers' do rather better than fill up space! Romeo and Juliet is very moving at the close and driven in the middle. Both Hamlet and Francesca face the tumult head on, driving the through the many storms at fever pitch. 1812 is vey festive in atmosphere and the Swan Lake excerpts are nicely done, if ordered strangely. Sometimes I felt that Muti's chosen tempi for the Ballet pieces were a bit extreme - the Sleeping Beauty Waltz is very fast, but stands up nicely as a piece of concert hall music - but there are so many versions to choose from that it doesn't really matter!

I was not at all convinced by the Gavrilov 1st Piano Concerto, though by then the message had already hit home. The pace of the first movement struck me as too slow, so the great string tune seemed a little mannered.But with so much success elsewhere I was happy to accept it.

So if you are looking for a substantial Tchaikovsky sampler you could do a lot worse that this. I happen to also think that you could do better - For me Jansons and Karajan work well in the Symphonies, and there are countless versions of the shorter works that cound as classics. Litton's set also contains lots of bonuses and are just as well played. But if you are looking for multiple versions, or a starting point this is worth your money.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tchaikovsky symphonies - Ricardo Muti, 23 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1-6; Ballet music, etc (Audio CD)
Buying this CD has reminded me how much I love Tchaikovsky's symphonies - especially 4, 5 and 6. The recordings are just what I hoped for too. I saw Ricardo Muti conduct the Philarmonia playing the 6th Symphony back in 1979 and it was one of the best concerts I've ever been to and this cd has helped me relive that memory. I'm delighted with my purchase.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant bargain., 15 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1-6; Ballet music, etc (Audio CD)
Brilliant recording, all my favourite Tchaikovsky Symphonies in one place great! plus other superb Tchaikovsky music, ideal for all lovers of classical music in general.
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Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1-6; Ballet music, etc
Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1-6; Ballet music, etc by Riccardo Muti (Audio CD - 2011)
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