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Tchaikovsky: Symphonies, Piano Concertos, Etc / Masur, Et Al


Release Date: 02/27/2007 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 63781   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Elisabeth LeonskajaLorne MunroeGlenn Dicterow
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York PhilharmonicLeipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Number of Discs: 10 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 9 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Reviews of some of the original recordings that make up this set

"These recordings originally appeared on Teldec in 1995, on a CD mysteriously entitled 'Pas de Deux'. The most likely market for this disc will be found among relative newcomers to art music. There really is no better place to start than with Tchaikovsky and his infallible ability to write superbly melodic music of immortal beauty - in this case, in the form of a waltz. The eleven heard here come not only from the famous ballets, but also from his last two Symphonies, the haunting Serenade in C and the rarer incidental music to Hamlet.

True, there exists a school of thought which says that it is possible to have too many waltzes, and
Read more indeed even that a single waltz is too many if played by André Rieu's Johann Strauss Orchestra. If an exception should be made for anyone, it must be not for 'waltz king' Johann Strauss but for Tchaikovsky. Certainly, there can be no demurring against the great Nutcracker waltzes, and that is already a quarter of the disc safely enjoyed without a second's boredom, especially when the New York Philharmonic are playing, and Kurt Masur is their conductor. Masur has huge experience performing Tchaikovsky, not least his recordings of the Symphonies for Teldec in the early Nineties with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Sadly, his ill health is likely to end his conducting days in the near future, but in 1994 he was still in his prime - as this programme testifies.

-- MusicWeb International [1/2013] Reviewing the Waltzes

If one were to take Tchaikovsky at his own word, his entire repertoire would have been dismissed a century ago as the mediocre drivel of a man who had nothing to say. That was his normal take on his own works. In his letters and diaries, he often would state that his finished works were worthless, and he might not bother to waste anyone’s time by writing again. In 1888, after what seemed to him an endless dry spell, he wrote to his patron, Madame Nadezhda von Meck, "My symphony is finished ... There is something repellent about it ... This symphony will never please the public." Interestingly enough, that so-called "repellent" work was to become one of his most performed pieces, the epic and energetic Symphony No. 5.

The entire work is based around a single theme, which is intended to represent an anthropomorphized Fate. Initially played on the lowest register of the clarinet, the theme introduces the first movement, is evocative of a distant funeral procession and, as the symphony progresses, returns in various guises. It is sometimes wistful, at other times imposing; sometimes passing like a ghost through the violins at other times rumbling through the bassoons and clarinets. The predominant emotion inclines toward optimism until Tchaikovsky transforms his Fate theme into a triumphal march.

The Leipzig performance is very nicely done, although recorded perhaps too quietly at the beginning of the first movement. While the piece is easily heard on a home stereo system but one would not, for instance, be able to do much with it in a moving vehicle or on an airplane until several minutes in. On the other hand, this is exactly the effect one would want in a live performance or in a recital hall. Therefore, if the listener is accustomed to listening intently to a performance this would be considered a positive.

The energy throughout is very nicely conveyed. The final movement is one of the composer’s more exuberant and triumphant inspirations, representing, in Tchaikovsky’s mind, a "complete submission to Fate." The timpani and winds come forth in impressive fashion and to great effect. For four full movements, the performance is very nice and quite well balanced.

Following the Fifth Symphony is one of Tchaikovsky’s most beloved works, Romeo and Juliet – Fantasy Overture, which is often considered to be his first true masterpiece. This tone-poem was commissioned as an introduction for the famous Shakespearean drama and first performed in 1870. As in Symphony 5, the introduction of the work is a theme symbolizing Fate. The main subject material depicts the feuding Montagues and Capulets with the more familiar contrasting theme representing Romeo and Juliet’s love for each other. As the piece unfolds, the chorale and feud motifs play off each other until the love theme reappears and briefly dominates in its heightened form. It doesn’t manage to hold dominance however, and after its recapitulation fragments, appearing in musical shards throughout the funeral march in the coda. Finally it breaks down completely under the strain of the bellicose blows from the whole orchestra. It is among the most familiar in Western civilization, and is here presented cleanly and competently. The performance is very nice and was recorded without any noticeable flaws. Indeed, if one is looking for a recording of these works this would certainly be as good a recording as many and better than most.

The only thing to detract from this album would be the sheer number of times that these pieces have been recorded. There is much to recommend this CD, but not much to differentiate it from many other performances. Both Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and the Romeo and Juliet Overture have been recorded dozens of times and probably exist already in most collectors CD racks. However, if you do not have a recording of them yet, this would be a fine place to get solid renditions of this impassioned and wonderful music.

-- Patrick Gary, MusicWeb International [10/2004] Reviewing Symphony no 5

"Leonskaja is an impressive pianist, and this recording illustrates her skills very well. The Piano Concerto No. 2 is less well known than its predecessor, but it is a fine work and in many respects a more consistent and innovative one. For many years it was performed with some extensive and unfortunate cuts, but heard in its original form it is an impressive and coherent work. This performance is a dramatic, even explosive one, which accentuates the contrasts in it. The Gewandhaus Orchestra and Masur do their tasks admirably. The orchestra plays superbly, and Masur is fully responsive and supportive of the pianist's interpretation. The second movement, in part a kind of sinfonia concertante for piano, violin, and cello, is particularly beautiful, and the concluding movement is performed with enthusiasm and excitement."

-- Ron McDonald, Fanfare [9/1992] Reviewing Piano Concerto no 2
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Elisabeth Leonskaja (Piano)
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1994 
Venue:  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 34 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Russia (1874 - 1875). 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in G major, Op. 44 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Lorne Munroe (Cello), Elisabeth Leonskaja (Piano), Glenn Dicterow (Violin)
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879-1880; Russia 
Venue:  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 43 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Notes: Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY (11/1992 - 12/1992) 
3.
Symphony no 1 in G minor, Op. 13 "Winter daydreams" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866/1874; Russia 
Date of Recording: 08/1989 
Venue:  New Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 44 Minutes 44 Secs. 
4.
Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Russia 
Date of Recording: 08/1989 
Venue:  New Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 23 Minutes 54 Secs. 
5.
Symphony no 2 in C minor, Op. 17 "Little Russian" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 03/1990 
Venue:  New Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 33 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Russia (1872).
Composition revised: Russia (1880). 
6.
Romeo and Juliet Overture by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869/1880; Russia 
Date of Recording: 03/1990 
Venue:  New Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 18 Minutes 43 Secs. 
7.
Symphony no 3 in D major, Op. 29 "Polish" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; Russia 
Date of Recording: 05/1991 
Venue:  New Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 39 Minutes 39 Secs. 
8.
Mazeppa: Cossack Dance by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881-1883; Russia 
Date of Recording: 06/1991 
Venue:  New Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 19 Secs. 
9.
Festival Coronation March in D major by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Russia 
Date of Recording: 06/1991 
Venue:  New Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 22 Secs. 
10.
Symphony no 4 in F minor, Op. 36 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1878; Russia 
Date of Recording: 08/1986 
Venue:  New Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 42 Minutes 34 Secs. 
11.
Symphony no 5 in E minor, Op. 64 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Russia 
Date of Recording: 03/1987 
Venue:  New Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 47 Minutes 14 Secs. 
12.
Symphony no 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathétique" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
Date of Recording: 08/1986 
Venue:  New Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 43 Minutes 45 Secs. 
13.
Manfred Symphony in B minor, Op. 58 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885 
Date of Recording: 03/1991 
Venue:  New Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 53 Minutes 29 Secs. 
14.
Concert Fantasia for Piano and Orchestra in G major, Op. 56 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Elisabeth Leonskaja (Piano)
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; Russia 
Date of Recording: 01/1996 
Venue:  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 27 Minutes 58 Secs. 
15.
Concerto for Piano no 3 in E flat major, Op. 75 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Elisabeth Leonskaja (Piano)
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
Date of Recording: 01/1996 
Venue:  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 14 Minutes 40 Secs. 
16.
Swan Lake, Op. 20: no 18, Act 3 - Scène by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1994 
Venue:  Live  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 7 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Russia (1875 - 1876). 
17.
Swan Lake, Op. 20: Waltz(es) by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875-1876; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1996 
Venue:  Live  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 7 Minutes 15 Secs. 
18.
Eugene Onegin, Op. 24: Waltz by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1878; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1996 
Venue:  Live  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 6 Minutes 11 Secs. 
19.
Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a: Waltz by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1996 
Venue:  Live  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 4 Minutes 42 Secs. 
20.
Hamlet, Op. 67a: no 5, Act 2 Entr'acte by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1996 
Venue:  Live  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 44 Secs. 
21.
Nutcracker, Op. 71: no 9, Act 1 - Waltz of the Snowflakes by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891-1892; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1996 
Venue:  Live  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 56 Secs. 
22.
Nutcracker, Op. 71: no 13, Act 2 - Waltz of the Flowers by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891-1892; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1996 
Venue:  Live  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 6 Minutes 46 Secs. 
23.
Nutcracker, Op. 71: no 15, Act 2 - Final Waltz and Apotheosis by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891-1892; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1996 
Venue:  Live  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 39 Secs. 
24.
Symphony no 5 in E minor, Op. 64: 3rd movement, Waltz by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1996 
Venue:  Live  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 6 Minutes 23 Secs. 
25.
Symphony no 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathétique": 2nd movement, Allegro con grazia by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1996 
Venue:  Live  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 7 Minutes 50 Secs. 
26.
Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48: 2nd movement, Waltz by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1996 
Venue:  Live  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 52 Secs. 

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