TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36; Romeo and Juliet

by | May 10, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36; Romeo and
Juliet–Overture Fantasy in B Minor – Ivan Fischer conducts Budapest
Festival Orchestra – Channel Classics multichannel SACD CCS SA 21704

I have awarded this fine disc
five stars because it is simply an exemplary SACD offering, delighting
in the music it contains and consistently gratifying in its splendid
sonics. Ivan Fischer (b. 1951) and his Budapest Festival Orchestra have
collaborated in some magnificent Tchaikovsky, played for all its
virtues and defects, with real passion. The Fourth Symphony, with its
fate motifs, coems across stylistically somewhere between the emotional
and virtuosic outpourings of Koussievitzky and the leaner approach of
say, Cantelli. The surround-sound audiohpile component allows the
Tchaikovsky-ite to relish the horn calls, the tympani and cymbal
outbursts, and the oboe solo from different points of entry into his
listening space. In the Romeo and Juliet, which is executed with every
kind of sensitivity to balance and spaciousness (without inflating to
Celibidache’s overwrought proportions), the harp and muted tympani
effects combine with smoothly evocative transports of the melodic line
to achieve a monumental luster. This is the kind of CD that invites one
to listen with score in hand, if only to savor the realization of the

The Fischers–conductors Adam and Ivan–are among the most
conscientious interpreters, and talking to Adam, I had the impression
of a man both on a moral as well as musical mission. Ivan brings to the
podium a sense of color as pointed as that of Stokowski, but with his
own restraint and polish; perhaps there is something of the Fricsay
legacy in his temperament. This Tchaikovsky CD qualifies for anyone’s
demo shelf for his audio system, and the music-making keeps on giving.

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