Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies

Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies

97083 (Brilliant Classics, CD, 7 discs)

COMPILATION (1 January 2024)
Booklet pages: 17
℗ 2015 Pentatone Music BV
© 2024 Brilliant Classics
Main country of recording: Russia
Reviewer: Gerald Fenech
Review of Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies published on 8 February 2024

Russian National Orchestra
Mikhail Pletnev, conductor

A modern, Russian-made cycle of Tchaikovsky in superb sound, led by one of today's most unpredictable and inspiring musicians. Made at a studio in Moscow in June 2010 and April 2011, originally issued in separate volumes, this is an orchestral cycle of Tchaikovsky to reckon with. Mikhail Pletnev founded the Russian National Orchestra in the years following the break-up of the USSR, and they rapidly won fame and an international following for the dynamic precision and attack of their performances, which bore the imprint of their mercurial leader. One of their earliest recordings was Tchaikovsky's Pathétique Symphony, later remade for Deutsche Grammophon as part of a cycle, and then once more within the present set. Thus this music runs in the orchestra's blood, but there is no danger of routine or staleness in their performances when Pletnev is on the podium. His approach is remarkably attuned to the period and manners of Tchaikovsky's time, always neat and graceful in the scherzos and the early symphonies, never overlaid with bombast or excess weight in the manner of many postwar recordings. The bonuses to the canonic cycle of six symphonies: first and foremost the Manfred Symphony in its original, best and uncut version. Then the major symphonic poems such as Romeo and Juliet and Francesca da Rimini, with their dramatic narratives held taut by Pletnev's phrasing. The coupling for the Second Symphony, which famously quotes Ukrainian melodies throughout and especially in the joyous finale, is a rare chance to hear the first draft of the opening movement, which was cast on a much more expansive scale.

Recorded in June 2010, April 2011 and April 2013 at DZZ Studio 5, Moscow , Russia. (Organ recorded at the St Ludwig Kirche, Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Germany.)