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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 16 December 2009
This cycle is quite simply superb.

I have a number of Tchaikovsky symphony sets & have had my interest in these symphonies re-ignited by these recordings. Janssons & the Oslo Philharmonic have captured the essence of these great works bringing a wonderful clarity. The Manfred symphony is as good as I've heard in ages & they have thrown in a lovely verion of the Capriccio Italien (Opus 45) to boot.

This box set is a steal.

Well done Mr. Janssons, Oslo Phiharmonic, Chandos & Amazon!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 4 October 2011
I didn't get very far with this.

In the mood to wilfully renovate my Tchaikovsky collection I did some reading, some sample listening and opted for this celebrated Oslo cycle courtesy of Chandos and Mariss Jansons. Upon arrival I went straight for the most difficult symphony to make convincing ("Polish") and also a personal favourite (No.5). Well, I don't think any conductor can make one love the Third Symphony but good as Jansons was in No.5 I missed both the greater emotional engagement of performances conducted by Karajan and also the electrifying response of his orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic. Not that I think the most polished metropolitan orchestras always bring the best results; just that, in this case, I was underwhelmed by the Norwegians.

This production has the classic Chandos sound, airy and panoramic, but I can understand what another contributor meant when they said it sounds like you've been locked out of the concert hall. The notes boast that this is a bestselling Tchaikovsky box and it's easy to hear why, but more recent slimline boxes offer considerably more music and sometimes cost less: there's Pletnev (DG) and Jarvi (Bis) with the extra disc space filled with ballet, theatre music and tone poems, top-notch DDD stereo to boot. The Chandos design neglects to list the individual disc content on each cardboard sleeve, a small omission but annoying.

You might want to look closely at these offers before choosing Jansons. Karajan's set of just the symphonies (late '70s) is also cheaper. if you're new to Tchaikovsky, Litton's Bournemouth set (Virgin) is still available, you get loads of extras and it's cheap as chips.

Mull it over.
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on 4 December 2010
i disagree with some of the reviewers here - I have many copies of the Tchaikovsky symphonies and this is without doubt the reference-point set. 5 is exceptional, 3 splendid and Manfred and Little Russian also shine. for years these Tchaikovsky symphony recordings have justifiably topped The Penguin Guide's recommendations and still do. Issued here both remastered and at budget price this is the essential reference point for anyone that wants to enjoy Tchaikovsky's symphonies. One of the best items in the chandos catalogue - strongly recommended
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on 31 August 2014
Not much to add to the plaudits. I bought the set soon after first release - when it cost a considerable amount more than this extraordinary budget price - and have listened to it countless times. Jansons is the perfect conductor, with no fancy tricks or irritating habits (like humming, Colin Davis ... ). He lets the many solo instruments that Tchaikovsky uses, especially the woodwind, have ample time to flesh out their contributions. Climaxes are powerful without being overly theatrical - in so far as that's possible with Tchaikovsky. The Oslo Phil is phenomenal and the Chandos engineers caught it all. To my mind the definitive set, among the moderns at least.
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on 1 September 2011
I have long been an avid listener to Tchaikovsky, from the moment I heard the 1812 overture in my early twenties. This CD has introduced me to several pieces which I did not know and was very enjoyable. Great recording at a very reasonable price.
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on 21 October 2010
I have been listening to and studying these symphonies for more than forty years now. As I write, this set of the complete Tchaikovsky symphonies, including Manfred, is available for a little over £20 and that's not the only reason the regard this as the best set available for general listening. Janssons is a superb interpreter and the orchestra is on fire under his assured baton.

Of course, you will want to hear other version of your favourite from time to time; Bernstein's 5th, Andrew Litton's glowing account of No. 2. But this is more than adequate to have as a central part of your CD collection.

I must make a case for No. 6 (Pathetique) here; it's handled very well here but there is another version which will send chills down your spine - Ferenc Fricsay (coupled with a Bartok piano concerto with Annie Fisher as soloist) gives the finest live performance I have ever heard, or ever expect to hear. It really was a one-off and utterly essential for the true Tchaikovsky lover. Trust me, if you haven't yet heard this version you will never be able to listen to any other! Really and truly, it's that good.

But all is well here too. And at around £20, you really can't wish for more.
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on 23 September 2011
Wonderful performances ruined by the distant Chandos recording. Sounds as if you have been locked out of the concert hall
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on 12 July 2011
A little difficult to write an honest review for 'the symphonies' by the maestro but I feel that most compositions are rendered differently by various orchestras or their illustrious conductors.

I have heard - in fact I own Symphony # 6 on Cirrus Classics, Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Edouard van Lindenberg and Symphony # 5 on Chandos (CHAN 8351), Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons and can confirm that each conductor leaves his own "touch" to the great works. Even the same orchestra - in this case the Oslo Philharmonic, when recording on different occasions does have 'variations' which can be discerned when played one after other. Nothing objectionable, I hasten to add, since it is not physically possible to be "exact".

These complete 'The Symphonies' I might say, have been rendered as perfectly as possible. A trained ear could probably discern "mistakes" but that only a professional could.

Why only 4 stars then? Well, the packing of this set honestly has rather disappointed me. Instead of each CD being packed in its own jewel case, each of these are packed in cardboard slip-sheets, together packed in a card board outer box with a thin booklet detailing information on the symphonies and the Oslo Philharmonic.
I would have thought that for the price charged we could have at least got the 6 CDs in separate jewel cases! Would have looked better in my collection that way!!

Recording wise - wonderful set to own. Go ahead and buy it.
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on 22 May 2014
If you want an inspiring T-cycle, this is your go-to option. Passionate music making with clear recording. Although in the 6th, I miss the prominent brass you hear on the Abbado-CSO-recording. Plus a bargain-deal you can not afford to miss
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on 8 January 2016
Good quality very enjoyable listening.
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