TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 “Pathetique”; Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32 – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/ Neeme Jarvi – BIS

by | Nov 16, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 “Pathetique”;
Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32 – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/ Neeme
Jarvi – BIS MultiChannel SACD 1348  69:02 ****:

Perhaps it should be noted that liner jacket has a photograph of Arne
Nilsson, solo bassoonist of the Gothenburg Symphony, on its back cover.
In this surround sound format, Nilsson’s distinctive contribution comes
forth prominently in the midst of a supreme confrontation with Fate.
Estonian conductor Neeme Jarvi (b. 1937) plays the two outer movements
of Tchaikovsky’s 1893 musical autobiography as the great sighs of a De
Profundis, with only occasional glimmers of temporary light, from one
“who laughs but smiles no more.”

Recorded 2003 (Francesca) and 2004 (Pathetique), the two works have a
glossy, almost slick patina we might impart to Herbert von Karajan.
After a furious Adagio–Allegro non troppo, the 5/4 Allegro con grazia
sings some relief, although the relentless beating of the tympani in
the B Minor trio and the falling interval of a second belie the
respite. Even the (Roman) triumphal march of Allegro molto vivace, with
blazing trumpets and crashing cymbals, suffers dark undercurrents that
remind us that all glory is fleeting. Inexorably, we enter the throes
of the Adagio lamentoso, a movement and a musical structure both of
which influenced Mahler’s depictions of personal struggle. The
Dantesque throes of Francesca da Rimini surge with passionate anguish,
requisite to the most touching of the episodes of Inferno. The
relentless winds, the clarinet entry for Francesca’s tale, the plaints
of romantic agony, all urge themselves with conviction and clarity.
Conductor Jarvi certainly loves this music; you just have to decide if
your wallet and your collection need another rendition of such
much-rendered Russian scores.

–Gary Lemco

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