It is surprising that Sir Georg Solti as a Tchaikovskian from the earliest days of his recording career has never previously recorded this work, which on this showing is rather more sympathetic to him in its extrovert brilliance than the most neurasthenic later symphonies. His is a clean-cut, tough, unhysterical view of the Fourth. His opening fanfare is fierce, but fierceness and brilliance are not allowed to dominate through the movement, for his handling of the changes of speed and tension in the second subject cannot be faulted, with the playing of the Chicago orchestra given a rhythmic refinement which is not as charmful or balletic as with some rivals (Ashkenazy for example) but which remains attractively fresh, not at all stiff.Read more Solti then starts the slow movement below the basic tempo he later adopts and for the first statement of the theme the result, for all the subtlety and refinement of the playing, sounds sluggish. But that shortcoming is temporary, and if you favour a really slow speed for this Andantino then Solti is very sympathetic. In the pizzicato scherzo Solti has the benefit of extra digital clarity bringing out the exceptional brilliance of the Chicago playing. In the finale, as in the first movement, Solti is both fierce and exciting but never hysterical, relishing the extrovert brilliance but making the folk-song second subject touchingly tender and simple. The weight of bass in Decca's digital recording brings an advantage even over the excellent sound in both the Haitink (Philips) and Ashkenazy (Decca) versions.
There is still much to be said for all three of my listed versions, not to mention several others. Ashkenazy in particular presents a winningly volatile view which is yet not at all self-indulgent. But if you want a brilliant modern digital recording, then Solti is the prime contender. More than most Chicago recordings this one presents the sound vividly against a clearly identifiable acoustic with marginally greater depth of focus than usual.
-- Gramophone [12/1984, reviewing the original LP release] Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 4 in F minor, Op. 36by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Conductor:
Sir Georg Solti
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1877-1878; Russia Length: 43 Minutes 0 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Superb RecordingApril 30, 2016By M. Bishop (Clackamas, OR)See All My Reviews"Tchaikovskys Symphony #4, as conducted by Georg Solti and performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), begins in a grand fashion and continues on throughout the presentation equally well. The clarinet solo in the opening movement, as followed by the strings playing the melody line is absolutely superb. The playing of the timpani while the orchestra holds forth gives the piece an ethereal sound and sets up for the excellent playing of the orchestra that follows. The overall sound quality of the orchestra is top notch, worthy of commendation. I highly recommend this album as one of the best renditions available of Tchaikovskys fourth symphony."Report Abuse