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Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 3; Symphony No. 7

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Conductor: Neeme Jrvi
  • Composer: Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B000000AQX
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 240,318 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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11:23
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7:26
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9:13
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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There are references in Tchaikovsky's letters to a symphony which is full of 'life' (No 7) as opposed to 'judgment' (No 6).
The strange circumstances of the composer's death and the highly-charged nature of the 6th, with its dying embers, cynicism and despair, are the now accepted orthodoxy of a man boxed into a corner by both fate and his own choices. But what if it wasn't this way. Although Tchaikovsky was dissatisfied with the 7th because he composed it 'for the sake of writing something', not before long he was adapting it into the one-movement Third Piano Concerto, a confident, successful piece (well-played here by the late,lamented Tozer). Jarvi and the LPO give convincingly warm accounts of both and so let us make up our own minds. As a Penguin Guide *** edition this deserves to be better known. Despite the orchestral scherzo having to be lifted from elsewhere and the slow movement and finale 'plundered' later by Taneyev to produce a complete
Third Piano Concerto there is sufficient interest and stimulation here to make this a must have issue. The symphony may be uneven but it is undoubtedly Tchaikovsky trying to do something new - in mood not unlike the Third Suite where he is unusually optimistic. Those brave enough to challenge the tortured, suicidal portrait of Tchaikovsky's manic depression could well find a surprise here which blows away tradition. And maybe much the better for it. Give it a try.
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Format: Audio CD
Tchaikovsky certainly had plans for a seventh symphony, but these were transformed instead into a proposed third piano concerto. This CD features both.

Semyon Bogatryryev relied on the composer's sketches for the symphony, the resulting piano concerto, and Taneyev's piano reworking to produce his version of the seventh. It is not as lyrical and inventive as one would expect. Perhaps Tchaikovsky was right to discard it: himself judging this work, Tchaikovsky wrote that he "composed for the sake of composing something."

In the judgement of this reviewer, only the development of the first movement displays any passion and power. As for the andante second movement, it lacks much of the grace that one would expect from this composer. The writing seems somewhat contrived, not heartfelt. The scherzo at least retains some wit and bite, but the finale is often laboured.

In conclusion, I can only feel that (unlike those of, say Mahler and Elgar) the sketches of Tchaikovsky's last proposed symphony should have been left alone. The result is just a mere curiosity, one of the least interesting of his symphonies; but then, it's not really Tchaikovsky's at all. I don't think any fault can be laid at the feet of the London Philharmonic, as they give of their best. The sound quality of the CD is very good.

The third piano concerto, since its origins lie with the proposed seventh symphony, allows a direct comparison to be made with it on this CD. And, it's true; it does work better as a piano concerto. It's a shame that Tchaikovsky died with only the first movement completed. (Taneyev had a go at completing it, but that is not recorded here.) It has a very strong cadenza and Geoffrey Tozer on this CD gives it justice.

Three stars for the symphony; four for the concerto; and four for the playing throughout. Result: four stars.
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Format: Audio CD
This music works far better as a symphony than as a piano concerto. I remember first listening to the concerto long before I knew of any other version and thought 'why did he bother to change it?; the structure and narrative are symphonic and as soon as you hear the symphony you can see how it was meant to be. Now, is it 'any good'? This version is not the best there is - I rate Eugene Ormandy's version very highly with the Philadelphia Orchestra - only available these days from Arkiv, though it was a CBS disc originally (as LP). But even so, it does have moments of real inspiration - in all the movements. It may not be sustained all through, but it is a piece Tchaikovsky rejected (though he was very self critical it has to be said). So, worth having? YES - to put to rest any thoughts that the Pathetique was the 'worlds longest suicide note' as Leonard Bernstein once said. It fits into the sequence well enough - if one can accept, say the 3rd symphony, then this one is no less interesting. Try it. Expand your horizons and hear what Tchaikovsky in happy frame of mind sounds like. Then go check out his orchestral suites too!
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