Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos.4, 5 & 6 "Pathetique" (DG The Originals) CD
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Top Customer Reviews
My first acquaintance with these recordings was in the 1960s, when I was beginning to collect LP records. Mravinsky saw to it that the Pathetique became my favourite symphony, and it has remained so ever since. Herbert von Karajan also recorded these works for Deutsche Grammophon, and it is arguable that he achieved finer recordings from a technical standpoint - he was apparently passionately interested in high fidelity reproduction. I preferred Mravinsky's readings, however.
Having been disappointed with CD reissues of recordings that I valued on LP, I approached these with some scepticism. Let me say at once that I consider DG to have done a fine job of re-mastering, and I was relieved not to hear tape hiss, wow and flutter, distortion, or any other problem that could have been associated with the original 1960 analogue recording; indeed I had not heard them as clearly previously on vinyl discs. The frequency response is fine, wider than I feared it might be, and the dynamic range acceptable. That just leaves the quality of the original orchestral balance to be considered, now clearly revealed.
These are studio recordings, made after a series of concerts. Incidentally the sleeve notes state that the first and second violins were placed antiphonally for the concerts, but together for the recordings. Also it may be of interest that the 5th. symphony is split over the 2 discs. The vibrato used by wind instruments is brought to the fore by close microphone placement; brass and woodwind are balanced forwardly, the reeds very 'reedy' and the trumpets brash.Read more ›
These recordings certainly go some. And then some more. You'd be hard-pushed to find performances of anything that maintain such a white-hot level of intensity throughout three fairly long symphonies.
When Mravinsky brought the Leningrad Philharmonic to the West in 1956, both conductor and orchestra were a pretty unknown quantity. It was the height of the Cold War and, while a reputation preceded them, no-one was quite sure what to expect. Mravinsky and his assistant, Kurt Sanderling, shared the conducting of these last three Tchaikovsky symphonies and recorded them in mono then. Many listeners prefer those recordings to these stereo remakes of 4 years later. Personally, I prefer the later versions. It's good sound for its period, if slightly edgy in a way that suits the Leningrad sound well. It's in stereo. And you get Mravinsky in all three symphonies.
He is a master of this Russian repertoire - making it sound and feel very Russian indeed. He is certainly not afraid of bending and shaping things to his individual view of the works. There is usually a fairly heavy foot on the brake before lyrical second subjects. There is an impetuosity about faster movements that often requires modifications of tempo later on.Read more ›
This set dates from 1960, the height of the cold war, and at that time Mravinsky had been very little heard in what we used to call 'the west'. It was a period when western critics were inclined to favour a smoothed-over play-safe school of interpretation of the musical classics. This had something to be said for it as a reaction against the libertarian excesses of some previous schools, but it descended into a facile mediocrity based to all intents and purposes on checklists and box-ticking, reaching its nadir in the 70's and 80's when the main aesthetic preoccupation in many commentaries was the issue of how many repeats had been observed. Myself, I am thoroughly in favour of professionalism from professional musicians, but on the other hand I don't find checklists a very illuminating guide through the gardens of the muses. It also seemed to me that our ideas of how to play Tchaikovsky were probably too influenced by our ideas of the Viennese classics, and the advent of Mravinsky in London came none to soon.
It was enlightening to me to compare Mravinsky's account of the 4th symphony with a fine modern version from Abbado and the Vienna Philharmonic. On the checklist approach Abbado does very well indeed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wow!!! Must be the best collection of the Tchaikovsky Symphonies - excellent.Published 4 months ago by Terence A Cook
No wonder these performances are legendary. What more is there to say.Published 4 months ago by MR JOHN WARD
An amazing performance. The sound quality, given the age of the original recording, is excellent.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Buy this,by all means,but buy it in the Originals box set---worth every penny,a collection of the greatest standard repertoire you'll find. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Music Lover
The last movement of the 4th is different from anything else I've heard. It's the best ever.Published 11 months ago by A Smith
For my 21st birthday in 1965 my parents gave me my first stereo gramophone and with it a couple of stereo LPs, one of which was Mravinski's performance of Tchaikowsky's 4th. Read morePublished 16 months ago by MR P S AUSTEN
Marvellous recordings/performances - fire, passion, Slavonic verve and steely control of the whole.Published 17 months ago by james henry witham