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Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies, Overtures /Abravanel, Utah


Release Date: 10/16/2001 
Label:  Vox Box Catalog #: 3603   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 6 Hours 31 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The recordings of Maurice Abravanel and the Utah Symphony offer a striking parallel to those of John Barbirolli and the Hallé Orchestra. Both feature first-rate conductors allied to second-rate ensembles, and though the Utah forces routinely outplay their Manchester colleagues (you can, if you wish, compare directly in the last three symphonies), there's no denying the fact that neither offers serious competition to the world's great orchestras. Still, there's much to enjoy here. As a Tchaikovsky interpreter, Abravanel was superb, full of good ideas about pacing and balance (for an excellent case in point, check out the end of the Manfred Symphony's first movement), and the orchestra plays sufficiently well that it seldom if ever Read more becomes a liability in the sense that it prevents the conductor's intentions from communicating to the listener.


The highlights here include sensational performances of the first three symphonies. It's indicative of Abravanel's deep musicality that he scores such impressive successes in difficult moments such as the finales of Symphonies 1 and 2 (the coda of the former, taken at a blistering pace, actually vindicates Tchaikovsky's conception for once), and also turns in a deeply committed, extremely exciting Symphony No. 3. His Manfred Symphony also is one of the best available (beware, though, a bit of the first movement is tracked onto the beginning of the second, though the music itself plays correctly and we are advised this has been corrected in recent pressings). You simply won't hear that problematic finale build to a more logically satisfying conclusion, with the tones of the organ ideally blended with the orchestral winds. In the later symphonies, there's a fresh and direct No. 4 (fine string playing in the pizzicato scherzo, and again a very good finale), an exciting No. 5 where the forward wind balances call to mind Klemperer's superb EMI recording, and a Pathéthique noteworthy both for Abravanel's very deliberate tempo in the first movement's development section, and for the extraordinary clarity of texture (listen to those bass lines!) that vindicates this decision.


The tone poems include a sensational Marche Slave that's not afraid of its own vulgarity, a dynamic 1812 Overture with well-mixed "special effects" (bells and cannon shots), a dull Francesca da Rimini, and impressively cogent, urgent renditions of the two Shakespeare pieces: Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. Throughout the set, Vox provides vivid sound, light in the bass at times, but offering an unvarnished picture of an orchestra that could use richer strings and a bit more polish from the winds and brass, but that never waivers in its commitment to the cause. As a complete set of symphonies coupled to a mostly fine selection of other popular orchestral works, Abravanel's achievement sports more consistency than most, at a price that's well nigh unbeatable.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Manfred Symphony in B minor, Op. 58 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885 
Date of Recording: 1972-73 
2. Symphony no 1 in G minor, Op. 13 "Winter daydreams" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866/1874; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1972-73 
3. Symphony no 2 in C minor, Op. 17 "Little Russian" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 1972-73 
Notes: Composition written: Russia (1872).
Composition revised: Russia (1880). 
4. Symphony no 3 in D major, Op. 29 "Polish" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1972-73 
5. Symphony no 4 in F minor, Op. 36 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1878; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1972-73 
6. Symphony no 5 in E minor, Op. 64 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1972-73 
7. Symphony no 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathétique" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1972-73 
8. 1812 Overture, Op. 49 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1972-73 
9. Romeo and Juliet Overture by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869/1880; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1972-73 
10. Hamlet Overture, Op. 67 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1972-73 
11. Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1972-73 
12. Marche slave, Op. 31 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1972-73 

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