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Tchaikovsky: Symphonies And Orchestral Works


Release Date: 01/13/2008 
Label:  Virgin Classics   Catalog #: 561893  
Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 6 
Length:  7 Hours  0 Mins. 

Imported from : UNITED KINGDOM   
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Here is another of those extraordinary Virgin bargain boxes, offered at an astonishingly low price (six well-filled CDs for well under £20) and, as with the previous collection of Mozart concertos, serenades and symphonies (VB5 61678-2), these Tchaikovsky performances would be highly recommendable if they cost twice as much, while the recordings – realistically set back in a concert hall acoustic – are superb, full-bodied, and wide ranging and brilliant The playing of the Bournemouth Orchestra may not always be quite as polished as say, the Berlin Philharmonic for Karajan, but it is still very, very good indeed: ensemble is as keen as it is passionately responsive. Moreover Litton has a natural ear for Tchaikovskian detail – time and Read more again he draws the listener to revel in those delightful orchestral touches with which Tchaikovsky decorates and embroiders his melodies (witness the close of the slow movements of both the Second and Fourth Symphonies).

Litton gets off to an outstanding start with Nos 1 and 2 where the atmosphere is imbued with bonhomie and high spirits. The Mendelssohnian opening of Winter Daydreams is full of charm, the scherzo s sparkle, slow movements are touching; and the finale of the Little Russian is winningly zestful, with a contrasting catchy lilt for the second subject.

Litton readily disguises the structural flaws of the Polish Symphony with his geniality and a clever ebb and flow of tempos: the changing lyrical atmosphere of the inner movements is caught with evocative colouring and subtle rubato. ‘Superbly articulated playing’, commented Edward Greenfield in his original review of the outer movements (4/89), and this especially applies to the fugatos, never more so than in the finale, where the grandiose coda is also played for all its worth, and more.

In No 4 one is more aware of the slight distancing of the sound, and Litton matches it by his spacious tempo in the first movement and the slow but steady build up of tension which reaches its zenith at the end of the development. The woodwind of the second subject is full of balletic charm, and that rocking string figure is seductively silky.

That same broad approach to No 5 – the one comparative disappointment – works less well: one needs more impetus in the outer movements, yet there is massive weight in the coda. But Litton is back on form in No 6, and EG thought it ‘arguably the finest of the cycle...full of temperament, not just fiery but tender too’ (5/93). The phrasing of the first movement’s lovely secondary theme is ravishing, and the climax is as powerful as the cumulative peak of the scherzo/march, where the steady tempo does not detract from the scherzo element. The Finale is most eloquent and beautifully played.

In Manfred, as EG commented, ‘Litton’s emphasis is on its programmatic basis’ (3/93). He depicts Astarte exquisitely, the ‘Alpine Fairy’ scherzo is equally delightful, as is the tenderly delicate oboe solo which opens the pastoral scene of the Andante; yet the thrilling close of the first movement (with powerful, thrusting horns) and the organ entry at the close of the finale are both splendidly dramatic.

The extra items used as fillers are all enjoyably spontaneous, the Capriccio italien has visceral thrills and panache, the String Serenade is warmly romantic; and both Romeo and Juliet, matching romantic pathos with passion, and the underrated but masterly Shakespearean Tempest are among the highlights of the set. Even if you have much of this repertoire already, this set remains very enticing.

-- Gramophone [7/2001]
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Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 1 in G minor, Op. 13 "Winter daydreams" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866/1874; Russia 
2. Symphony no 2 in C minor, Op. 17 "Little Russian" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
3. Symphony no 4 in F minor, Op. 36 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1878; Russia 
4. Symphony no 5 in E minor, Op. 64 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Russia 
5. Symphony no 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathétique" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
6. Capriccio italien, Op. 45 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Russia 
7. Eugene Onegin, Op. 24: Polonaise by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1878; Russia 
8. Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Russia 
9. The tempest, Op. 18 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; Russia 
10. Romeo and Juliet by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
11. Manfred Symphony in B minor, Op. 58 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885 
12. Symphony no 3 in D major, Op. 29 "Polish" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; Russia 

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