- Audio CD (10 April 1990)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Deutsche Grammophon
- ASIN: B00000E4H9
- Other Editions: Audio CD | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,168 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Tchaikovsky - Symphonies Nos. 2 & 4
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Top Customer Reviews
Abbado and the two orchestras shine throughout the program. I know the fourth symphony since I heard the finale as introduction to the first radio broadcast in stereo in my native country (you had to use two radio receivers to hear the stereo effect). I was first under the musical tutelage of my elder brother; I heard vinyls only by the best orchestras and conductors for it was necessary to choose well what you bought - LPs were not cheap for us, two young enthusiasts of classical music.
After more than five decades of collecting recordings, and with a special love for the music of Tchaikovsky, Schubert and Mozart, I end up with some outstanding versions of these symphonies - and many more attempts by lesser bands.
The quality of these readings by Abbado is impressively good, maybe just behind readings by Mravinsky and Svetlanov with their respective impressive orchestras. However, maestro Abbado shows an excellent understanding of how Tchaikovsky's music should be played, especially in these two symphonies with some themes belonging to Russian folk melodies - nothing new in Tchaikovsky's music. Given the age of the recordings (1967), the remastering was done so well that the sound of this album is more than acceptable - it's actually quite good, even for the discerning ear. The orchestras - the Wiener Philharmoniker in No.4 and the New Philharmonia - respond to Abbado's verve and sound simply great. All instrument groups are well heard, and the heavy winds are captured according to these spirited opuses.
Fans of good music and good performances: Here's an anthology disc at giveaway price. It will be appreciated by both beginners and connoisseurs. At least that's what I believe. Enjoy the music!
Abbado has always been renowned for his meticulous care for balance, musical form and many other factors affecting performance. However sheer animal passion and drive have not been readily apparent and especially that has applied to his recorded Tchaikovsky. Not so on these two performances.
To digress to make a relevant point, one of the most exciting performances, and one that radiates sheer joy, is the 'live' performance that Abbado recorded with the BPO in Japan in 1994. Glances of individual and corporate pleasure are caught by the camera as they are exchanged in the build up to the very exciting conclusion to the symphony and to an excellent concert. Equally, there is another 'live' recording of Abbado conducting the 'Tempest' in Stockholm with the BPO in 1998. Once more, passion and excitement is palpable. Both of these recordings are still available on Euroarts and clearly illustrate sides of Abbado's music making that do not always come over in studio recordings, especially in Tchaikovsky.
Thus is is with this exciting account of the 4th symphony which has an unusual drive and forward commitment for a studio recording sufficient to match even Szell in his famous recording of the 4th with the LSO over a decade earlier. Indeed, the VPO play with an intensity and freshness that make one wonder if this studio recording was recorded with long enough 'takes' to suggest a 'live' occasion rather similar to the circumstances of the Szell recording.Read more ›
Putting aside the limitations of the audio quality for a moment, I was particularly struck by the wonderful craftsmanship on display in these pieces. Abbado is not a conductor I have followed closely over the years, but this CD makes me realise I must have been missing a lot of really good performances. Coupled here with the New Philharmonia, he excels in bringing out the lyrical aspects of these works as well as the blood and thunder: the orchestra play out of their skins, with precision, delicacy (where called for), and feeling. This is music of great beauty, making the inner contrasts even more poignant, and there is very little in the way of deviation from the score in terms of tempo, dynamics, or phrasing, which is an art in itself.
Abbado's management of the string section is awesome. It is tight but fluid, precise but natural-sounding: an amazing feat of control. Equally, the woodwind is allowed to shine through without being sidelined, (unlike the triangle) while the brass shows considerable restraint in certain passages where other conductors let rip, but not in the opening fanfare of the 4th or the closing bars of either work. With a couple of notable exceptions, the timpani are also on a bit of a leash, but this allows the music to come through more clearly from the other sections. The cymbal clashes are a real mixed bag: now and then they sound very realistic, but all too often they disappear in a bit of general mushiness. At one brief point in the 2nd I thought I heard a snare drum, and there is none - that is how mushy it got at one point.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Oh my; if only dear old Claudio Abbado - by all accounts a very nice man as well as a fine conductor - had been able to maintain the kind of fire and vigour he displays here in... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Ralph Moore