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Symphony No. 6 "Pathetique" /Romeo And Juliet


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Feb. 15 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B000031X7X
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #105,109 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No.6 In B Minor, Op. 74 'Pathetique': Adagio - Allegro Non Troppo
2. Symphony No.6 In B Minor, Op. 74 'Pathetique': Allegro Con Grazia
3. Symphony No.6 In B Minor, Op. 74 'Pathetique': Allegro Molto Vivace
4. Symphony No.6 In B Minor, Op. 74 'Pathetique': Finale. Adagio Lamentoso - Andante
5. Symphony No.6 In B Minor, Op. 74 'Pathetique': Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy-Overture After Shakespeare

Product Description

Product Description

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Time was that to make Tchaikovsky a whipping boy for the worst excesses of romanticism, an emblem of "hysteria" and bathetic self-indulgence, became critically fashionable. But with this composer, the court of popular opinion has proved more far-sighted than that of the critics. The power of his finest scores--in the hands of a truly sympathetic interpreter--remains unforgettably gripping, and nowhere more so than in the symphony he premiered just days before his controversial death. Valery Gergiev taps into the theatrical sensibility evidenced by his dynamic Kirov Opera recordings of Mazeppa, Iolanta, and Pique Dame to shape a psychological drama of devastating intensity in his account of the nihilistic Pathétique. He fires up the Kirov orchestra to a fevered pitch of inspiration, summoning a great luxuriance of sound and coloristic detail, from brass chorales as rousing as those on Judgment Day and imaginatively sprung wind solos to the composer's trademark roulades, dispatched with thrilling ensemble. The use of vacuum tube equipment for the recording results in a warm sonic focus, with particularly full-bodied bass, giving the score's blackest moments a vividly frightening presence. Gergiev stresses Tchaikovsky's most provocative shocks (you can hear his own gasps on occasion if you listen closely enough), as in the explosive rupturing of the pppppp in the middle of the first movement. But in addition to dramatic savvy, he grasps Tchaikovsky's radical new concept of the symphonic journey, with its reversal of Beethoven's affirmative model through the Adagio finale's valedictory plunge back into silence (Mahler would follow a similar pattern in his Ninth). Also included is a bracing, epic, and thoroughly convincing performance of the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture showing the Kirov band in terrific ensemble. Stereotypes of Tchaikovsky's music as expressing the "Russian soul" notwithstanding, Gergiev's spectacular, impassioned interpretations give us a composer that is universally moving. --Thomas May

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Audio CD
I heard Gergiev and The Kirov Orchestra perform this symphony the night before they made this recording in Finland. The concert was magnificent and I had high hopes for this recording but I must say I was deeply dissapointed. The first movement is very odd and Gergiev never seems to find the right tempo. Some parts are played way too fast and some too slow. The live performance was very gripping but the recording sounds very robust without being dramatic. The brass play very hard with a strong vibrato, but I think Gergiev lets the brass play too loud and they often cover the strings. Playing loud doesn't mean playing dramatic. The last movement is also a dissappointment. I don't understand, why Gergiev has to accelerate the tempo during the final climax.
The hall, where this recording has been made is very small and I think you can sense it while hearing this recording. The sound has no air in it. The percussion sound very odd and too hard and very close. The new recording which Gergiev has made with Vadim Repin has also been recorded at the same hall, but it sounds much better.
My favourite recording of the Pathétique is Sergiu Celibidache's recording. This performance takes an hour!! But it is truly gripping.
After hearing Gergiev's poor recording of Verdi's Requiem, I thought that Gergiev was loosing his touch. But then after hearing his new recordings of The Rite of Spring and Pictures at an Exhibition, I was relieved. They are both magnificent. Gergiev is still my favourite conductor, because he can produce a very personal sound. Some other conductors, like Salonen, Chailly, Rattle and Nagano, all sound the same. Gergiev's style suits for some pieces and for some pieces, like Sibelius and Beethoven, it doesn't. I think it should suit for Tchaikovsky, but this recording proves otherwise. But I hope he will make a new recording some day. Maybe with the Wiener Philharmoniker.
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Format: Audio CD
I first heard this piece in a LP conducted by Gennady Rozhdestvensky--the orchestra was something like the Moscow Radio Symphony. The performers were not all technically the best, but they played with an intensity I've never heard matched, and I've been on the lookout since then for a recording to match or equal that. I believe Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony to be the most emotionally wrenching work ever composed (this from a musician who worships Mahler like a God). And in my quest I borrowed a copy of Gergiev's performance with the Kirov Orchestra. It came highly recommended, and many of the reviews here praise it highly; certainly the Kirov Orchestra from St. Petersburg should be able to play Tchaikovsky like no one else. But I also had some trepidation--knowing Gergiev and the Kirov's recording of Verdi's Requiem, I found the orchestra not up to the demands of such emotionally charged music--particularly the brass, and Gergiev's interpretation somewhat quirky. Still, I tried not to prejudge. But with practically the first note, I knew there was trouble. I find Gergiev's tempi rather odd--the beginning is too fast, other spots too slow, and some places simply odd. As with the Verdi, the Kirov Orchestra's performance is more a testament to the fact that many of the former USSR's finest musicians have left the country than a display of a long and proud history. Balance problems abound, and the orchestra is simply uneven in the intensity of the performance. I can't recommend this recording, and honestly I'm curious why so many here have praised it so highly. I am definitely a very critical listener; but there are hundreds of recordings of this piece--why not be?
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Format: Audio CD
Tchaikovsky was one of those composers who had a horribly agonising self-conflict with his homosexuality. He considered himself to be a 'disgusting, depraved beast'. However, all classical music fans would not even prescribe this image to a man whose music is romantic, gentle, emotional and extremely melodic in nature. We see Tchaikovsky as undoubtedly the greatest Russian composer of all time.
His final composition is - in my opinion - his greatest work, the 6th symphony in B-minor. Subtitled the 'Pathetique'. This is truly a work of dark complexity overshadowed at times by the beauty and passion of its romanticism. There does tend to be, however, a tendency to translate this symphony more in terms of its romantic nature than its brooding, autobiographical stance. However, Gergiev seems to have balanced out the two moods farily equally.
The Kirov's interpretation of Tchaikovsky's masterwork is fluent in power and emotion. A full-on tour de force of melody, and orchestral genius. This is a piece of music not only for the romantics, but also for the brooding. Tchaikovsky's spirit lives on in this composition. It is only fair that the conductor and orchestra in question translate a brooding man's melancholy into the emotion it so richly deserves.
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By A Customer on April 3 2000
Format: Audio CD
Having purchased this new recording of Tchaikovsky's 6th (coupled with the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture) and listened to it four or five times, I must say that Pletnev and Jansons will have to move over and make room at the top for the Kirov Orchestra and Valery Gergiev's fine new interpretation. Without exception, recorded sound is clean and luxuriant, with just enough orchestral bloom; coloration is lush and inviting; the reading dramatic in the best sense of the word: contrasting tender moments of rapt melancholy and sweetness with moments of powerful personal exhilaration. I found the Romeo and Juliet overture particularly effective and appealing, the cumulative emotional effect of the work culminating in a finale that is inspired--especially in the tympani roll that carries the listener to the work's final chord. In short, buy this recording: you will not be disappointed!
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