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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2012
The Marinsky Orchestra have this music in their blood and with Valery Gergiev conducting Tchaikovsky's most popular symphonies from memory before a packed audience in the Salle Pleyel in Paris the result is intense and at times thrillingly dramatic. There are exciting moments in the fourth symphony especially when the main theme comes back quadruple fortissimo and with great passion at the end of the first movement. The riotous finale blazes along with an exciting accelerando at its close. I like the way Gergiev isn't afraid to linger with expressive intensity over the lyrical second theme of the first movement of the fifth symphony. Similarly in the beautiful second movement where the fate motif interruptions on the brass are almost overwhelming. The third Valse movement moves along gracefully at a flowing tempo while in the Finale the timpanist has a field day and the brass blaze triumphantly. The big climax of the the first movement of the 'Pathetique'symphony is mind blowing in its emotional power as is the sheer poignancy and desperation of the Finale. The second movement's mood of graceful wistfulness with its unusual 5/4 time signature making it 'limp and falter,' is well characterised and Gergiev and the Marinsky Orchestra's play the third movement scherzo/march with energy and exuberance. All in all, a most enjoyable disc.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2012
I am hugely enjoying this Blu-ray, mainly of course for the overwhelming passion of the music (I am still on the Fourth) but also - surprisingly to me - for seeing its being played. If you want subtlety you will perhaps find little here; if you seek triumphant, abandoned and flamboyant joie de vivre, turn up the volume and treat yourself to a fantastic experience! This recording has it all.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2011
Yes, Tchaikovsky's music can be noisy, repetitive, even banal and sentimental in some passages, especially when it is not played "right" and without the proper feeling for its many layers of emotion, its surprisingly complex structures and its idiomatic syntax. When I approached Gergiev's set of the mature symphonies, my yardstick of excellence was the 1991 DVD Tchaikovsky Cycle by Vladimir Fedoseyev with the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra (see my review). These are marvelous, idiomatic performances - though the video and audio are now somewhat dated - and I will return to them. Gergiev has the advantage of state-of-the-art audio and video. He also conducts one of the world's premier orchestras, the musicians on the tip of their collective toes during their tour, here captured in the acoustically benevolent Salle Pleyel in Paris. Gergiev's approach to the scores is free in the best sense: he uses frequent tempo shifts, a wide spectrum of sound from ppp to fff as well as much portamento, rubato, accelerando and diminuendo. He manages to bring off the Fourth (an uneven symphony) with passion and insight, lending it a stature rarely encountered in other performances. Both the Fifth and the Pathétique are poignantly felt, the former as an arduous, but ultimate affirmation of life, the latter in its shattering progression to final dark resignation. These are incredible, stunning and moving performances one must hear to appreciate. The interview with Gergiev shows him as an articulate, thoughtful musician who sheds new light on Tchaikovsky's music and the art of performance.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2011
I've become a fan of Gergiev over recent years. He's always been a wonderful interpreter of Russian music, but as his repertoire as broadened, he seems to have became a more rounded musician. But this return to the music in which he forged his reputation is an absolute barnstormer. He oozes charisma on camera in the way Bernstein always used to and the committment of the players is exemplary. You get the sense that they feel like they own this music, which I suppose they probably do. They've probably been playing these symphonies since they first picked up an instrument. The fifth and Pathetique in particular are emotional rollercoasters and I've rarely found myself so engrossed in a classical performance.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2011
A great example of how to breathe fresh air into Tchaikovsky. It was with these symphonies that the composer really progressed in his craft and earned his reputation as one of the Great Russian composers. And Gergiev surely knows this well. A master in his own field, this is really outstanding stuff. Gergiev's interpretation of the symphonies is thrilling, and this is exactly what I enjoyed the most. It's beautifully filmed and has an almost cinematic quality, unlike so many concert DVDs that put you to sleep after the first movement. A thoroughly exciting disc.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2011
The perfect partnership - legendary Tchaikovsky conductor Valery Gergiev alongside director Andy Sommer. Sommer's direction is so much more dramatic than the majority of concert DVDs. Each Symphony is lit to suit the mood of the music and the cameras pan across the orchestra with balletic style. We get an up-close-and-personal insight into the facial expressions and movements of the players, which is rare in a concert performance - look out for the principle violinist smiling to himself with enjoyment! Valery Gergiev's intimidating conducting style works wonders with the orchestra, although I'm glad I'm not in their shoes! A truly moving and fascinating account of three of the world's best-loved Russian Symphonies, performed by a truly Russian orchestra.
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on 9 May 2013
Much as I enjoy these Tchaikovsky symphonies I was a bit disappointed in this disc. The sound to my ear is only in very good Stereo and the last symphony No 6 is very badly lit. All the players looked quite cadaveric even when the colour was made more intense on the screen. Also to be fussy why doesn't Gergiev either grow a decent beard or shave! He looks really scruffy with that "designer stubble!My other quibble is that some of the soft pianissimo passages are inaudible and if one turns up the volume then ones ears are shattered by the loud passages. Gergiev's tempi are rather exaggerated but I guess that is his interpretation.The camera work leaves much to be desired with too much focusing on the conductor's hands.I found this too distracting. None the less I did enjoy the disc very much and not even my nit-picking could spoil these magnificent orchestral works
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2011
I am an unabashed fan of Valery Gergiev. I have considered his interpretations of the Russian and East European Composers as one of the best. However, this recording of the last three symphonies of Tchaikovsky left me totally unsatisfied. Maybe my expectations were a tad too high when I ordered for this.

I have no idea whether to blame the quality of the audio recording (I played it on my Yamaha/Bose combination and then on another good system) or the interpretation (or lack of it) by Gergiev, but the net effect is rather disappointing. The orchestra seems to have been left totally to itself to interpret, and there is no 'tightness' if I may address it so, in the cohesion and ensemble and parts of it appear even 'muddy'and maybe 'airy' to say the least. The strings sound rather tired throughout, and the various climaxes within the work seem a little sterile.

Unlike some who have criticized it for the video recording, I feel that is the real redeeming factor here. In a video recording, I love to see the camera flit between the main and other instruments making the music and the conductor. Otherwise it becomes more like sitting in one position and watching much more of the conductor (like in Karajan recordings) or a meaningless collage of musicians making one want to switch off the screen and listen to the music only.

Like some other reviewer has stated, the Abbado with the Berlin in Japan as well as Abbado conducting in Caracas seem far more lively and spirited and bring out the essence of Tchaikovsky in their interpretations. This one comes nowhere near the other Russian greats like the old Rozhdestvensky or Mravinsky recordings, and one of the other benchmarks for me, the Ormandy/Philiadelphia ones....
Given the choice, I dont think I would recommend it as a 'worth buy' stuff.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2013
Wonderful music, excellent orchestra and a famous, but unshaven, conductor. But what a disappointment when it comes to the camera work which shows most of the time headless members of the orchestra playing their respective instruments and this is supplemented with irritating overlays of drumsticks, ghost images of orchestra members, etc. This is a DVD that will be viewed only once and probably never again.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2011
The sound is fine but the video is a disgrace. Filmed in what looks more like a rehearsal hall backstage, the color shifts all over the place, wierd lighting and the camera work is the worst I have ever seen on Blu-ray. The video direction is just awful with excessive zooming, flash snaps and irritating slow fades. Such a fine orchestra and conductor deserve better than this. Sadly this disc cannot be recommended.
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