TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 “Pathetique” – Valery Gergiev conducts Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra – Philips

by | Jun 25, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74
“Pathetique”  – Valery Gergiev conducts Vienna Philharmonic
Orchestra – Philips MultiChannel SACD 475 6197  44:00 (Distrib.
Universal)***:

Recorded in the Great Hall of the Musikverein, Vienna 2-4 September 2004,
this performance of Tchaikovsky’s quasi-autobiographical Pathetique
Symphony has the usual Gergiev trademarks of passion and elegance that
characterize his readings, cut from a cloth somewhere between Mravnsky’s
monumentalism and the Svetlanov predilection for rounded and molded
phrases. The Vienna Philharmonic retains its especial sound, which for
Tchaikovsky features bold, brazen trumpet work and the silken interplay
of bassoon and tympany. While the tristesse of the Allegro con grazia
is haunted, the ferocious, often demonic forward motion of the Allegro
molto vivace third movement still allows us to hear the discordances in the bass that are
soon to undermine its surface confidence and bravado.

With the SACD surround-sound format, we can well appreciate the
audiophile qualities that the music’s spacious aural concept provides,
the deep grumblings of the basses, particularly as the funereal
melancholy of the finale permeates the listening space. Despite the
grand design of the performance, its sweep, and its directness of
vision, the idea of programming only a 45 minute work on a full-price
SACD rather puts me off [That leaves 35 minutes free!…Ed.]. Why the
Philips producers could not provide us a relative rarity, like the
Sinfonietta by Rimsky-Korsakov, or even Gergiev’s ideas in Francesca da
Rimini, eludes me. For Gergiev fans, definitely; for audiophiles, maybe.

–Gary Lemco

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