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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 4, Romeo & Juliet / Barenboim


Release Date: 10/14/1997 
Label:  Teldec   Catalog #: 13698   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Tchaikovsky of dignity, integrity and a certain solemnity; motivated more by song than rhythm, with that song at times a little smooth (the oboe solo in the Symphony's slow movement). The colouring of the Fourth's swings of mood, within and between movements, is imaginatively done: in the main theme of the first movement (after the fanfares) the strings enter quietly and tentatively, singing a very melancholy song indeed (the basic tempo is broad, though with a quickening for fortes). I warmed to the poetry and typical refinement of the playing, particularly of the bassoon in a very expressively phrased link to the second theme. This theme seems shadowy and dreamlike, again melancholy, and quite without the balletic quality of Jansons Read more and many others, but it builds to a joyful close, with the Chicago brass opening up splendidly (as ever, a bold, eventoned choir). Surprisingly though, the trumpets don't deliver a convincing triple forte at the climax of the development; so it is possible that, for some, this will also be Tchaikovsky or caution (complete abandon only allowed/achieved in the finale's coda).

There was a claim made to me recently that, in the first half of the century, orchestras would take a performance into the studio, whereas these days the aim is for recording perfection in the concert-hall - a claim made by an orchestral musician who played before and after the introduction of tape. It probably holds good as a general rule, and it occurs to me that my kind is partly to blame for fostering the expectation of technical perfection. But it is interesting that, in the coupling here, a 'studio' Romeo and Juliet, tensions are higher than in the Symphony. Romeo is, of course, a piece with fewer pitfalls; one with more inherently sustained tensions, and less in need of 'an approach'. And there is another factor that accounts for its evident success here: the absence of an audience in Chicago's Orchestra Hall, allowing more bloom on the sound.

-- JS, Gramophone [12/1997]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 4 in F minor, Op. 36 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1878; Russia 
2.
Romeo and Juliet Overture by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869/1880; Russia 

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