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Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony

4.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Vasily Petrenko
  • Composer: Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky
  • Audio CD (29 Sept. 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B001F1YBUS
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,364 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Manfred Symphony, Op. 58
  2. The Voyevoda (Symphonic Ballad after Mickiewicz), Op. 78

Product Description

Product Description

Manfred, symphonie en 4 tableaux - Le Voïevode / Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra - Vasily Petrenko, direction

Review

''[Vasily Petrenko] seems to have everything going for him: dynamism, taste, confident command and clarity of communication.... What an exciting conductor he is to watch, and, even more so, to hear in action.'' --The Daily Telegraph

winner of the best orchestral disc catagory --Gramophone awards 2009

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Steve VINE VOICE on 14 Oct. 2008
Format: Audio CD
Simply a marvellous performance and recording of Tchaikovsky's (slightly neglected) Manfred Symphony. The R.L.P.O play marvellously, with particularly characterful woodwinds, and Petrenko delivers a performance that has all the excitement of a live performance. The great melody in the strings in the final movement is delivered with a terrific sweep; this is a truly committed performance, and is very well recorded (much better than most record companies get in Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall).

At this price it's an absolute bargain. Tchaikovsky lovers don't hesitate!
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Why would you expect to find contact with the nineteenth century Byronic spirit in a recording of music released early in the twenty first century from a city based in the north west of England?

Try this performance of Manfred and find out why?

Not just for the sentimental and backward-looking; this is also a performance of power and precision. The fact that I was so transported by the beauty of the Alpine scene (III - Andante) is just an unexpected bonus. The sprites are also present in this recording - it is multi-faceted.

The Voyevoda is a rarity and more welcome for that. I remember it was part of a much-treasured Dorati disc in the early '70s but gets a rare outing these days.

Having been well rewarded, recently, by the Shostakovich offerings from these forces I must say that I look forward to any and all of the future releases from the Petrenko /Liverpool / Naxos partnership
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I had the pleasure of hearing this work in its entirety for the first time at this year's (2010) Prom concerts, and to quote an old phrase, it knocked my socks off! The RLPO gave a performance which I've since relived on this CD; superb playing, wonderful performance, and a conductor who clearly lives and loves this music and (as I have subsequently found, to my delight)other examples of the symphonic repertoire. From start to glowing finish, the performance is excellent, and Naxos are to be thanked for giving this disc to the market.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a fantastic world class performance by any standard of measure and ansolute bargain at the price. The Liverpool Philharmonic is on top form. The playing from all sections of the orchestra is sublime. As for the brass, well the sheer energy is amazing. This is a great recording. It is difficult to comprehend why Tschaikowsky had any doubts about it.

You can not help but wonder if Richard Strauss knew the work. The last couple of minutes of the finale reminded me of the conclusion of Strauss's tone poem Death and Transfiguration where the artist transcends the boundaries of the world. Clearly Vasily Petrenko is going to be one of the great conductors of the future. Just buy it.
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Being neither strictly a symphony nor exactly a tone poem, "Manfred" is very free and episodic in construction and ranges across an enormous gamut of moods and emotions. It is of course Byronic both in inspiration and scope; its most passionate moments recall the episodes of whirling passion in my favourite of Tchaikovsky's symphonic poems, "Francesca da Rimini" but it also offers pastoral calm and Romantic yearning to create one of Tchaikovsky's most varied and febrile compositions.

I wonder why it has fallen into comparative disfavour; if any recording could revive interest it is this one. Petrenko does it again with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, making them sound like a world class orchestra, just as he has now done in several recordings. If I lived in or near Liverpool I would jump at every chance to hear them. The strings sound rich and full, the woodwind retain a pleasing rasp in late Romantic repertoire, and the sound provided by Naxos - surely 24 bit - is absolutely gripping in its warmth and immediacy. Try the entry of the organ at 17'24" for thrills; it in no way diminishes the sonorousness of the orchestra but just lifts everything on to a higher sonic plane - stunning.

Petrenko's conducting holds an essentially disparate piece together; he obviously loves the piece and his enthusiasm infects his players. The provision as a bonus of the equally rarely heard "Voyevoda" is very welcome; it is another arch-Romantic composition which often anticipates Sibelius in his most energised and liberated mode.
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Format: Audio CD
Vasily Petrenko has put Liverpool Phil as well as this lovely piece firmly on the map in this recording. I have never heard Tchaikovsky played more lyrically and with such refined and expansive yet restrained rubato. A worthy winner of Gramophone award. When will they record the first (Winter daydreams)?
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Petrenko achieves a fine quality of playing here with the Liverpool orchestra--finer than is usually heard in this Manfred symphony--and that goes a long way: Individual lines sing out firmly (as opposed to the listless playing in the first movement under Jurowski), rhythms are crisp, climaxes billow grandly, and the orchestra has a nice tonal quality. But for me it slightly misses the mark emotionally, compared to what I think are the best of other stereo readings.

The finest reading has always been Toscanini's: no one else has matched the perfect execution, the graciously sculpted phrases, the powerful climaxes, and the sense of narrative drama. Unfortunately it's in mediocre mono sound, but the memory is indelible. And the way he broadens the tempo at the conclusion of the symphony, and in the use of many other interpretive inflections throughout, gives the lie to the idea that he was a rigid or unsubtle conductor.

In stereo, I think Rostropovich comes closest to Toscanini in emotional impact, though the opening of his first movement is way too slow, and will remind some of Klemperer in his later days. Still, the final movement's conclusion is more effective under his baton than any.

Pletnev's two readings are very fine. The slightly over-reverberant sound (on DG, the one I prefer slightly at the moment) softens the dynamic impact of his orchestra's attacks somewhat, but he understands the music and seems to have lived with it longer than Petrenko, and even if Petrenko is a slightly better conductor, Pletnev is the better interpreter: the music unfolds with a seamless, organic, and more inevitable quality than in Petrenko, who seems to be fussy with it a little too much.
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