I ordered this SACD with some trepidation. The Mariinsky Theatre is NOT a good recording venue. In fact, it is an appalling venue! This recording of one of the greatest works of the romantic orchestral era is badly compromised by this theatre in which it is recorded.It incredible to think that a recording engineer of Andrew Cornall's professionalism could have actually sanctioned this disc's release.
If you recall the recordings Melodiya was making in the 60's/70's ( overloaded and raucous) then that will give you some idea of what to expect if you buy this cd. It is hard to believe that a recording company can actually make a recording as bad as this, and why not add some artificial reverb. to make it even worse!
As for the performance, Gergiev remains something of an enigmatic conductor. His Tchaikovsly 5 & 6 are wonderful, yet he can be an extremely wayward interpreter as well. Parts of this performance will be frustrating for those brought up on the recordings of Monteux, Beecham, Karajan, Haitink et al. The finale will, on first acquaintance, seem revelatory. Play it a second time, and you will realise that it is merely a virtuosos orchestra being put through its paces.
I cannot honeslty recommend this sacd. Given the ridiculous prices recording companies are charging for these discs, I can only advise that this one is to be avoided at all costs. Get the (ordinary) cd of the Beecham, Haitink to find out what this music is all about. I would have included Reiner in the list, but he ruins his reading with a funereal third movement, otherwise it is a great performance.