Christian Lindberg / Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra

Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos. 4, 5 & 6

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This double album consists of Tchaikovsky performances that have been issued in several different forms. The Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64 was recorded in 2012, when the Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra, a joint project of the cities of Tromsø and Bodø, was still called the Nordic Philharmonic; from a marketing point of view, with graphics showing the orchestra members, instruments and all, standing in the snow, the name change was a good one. This version packs more than 82 minutes of music onto the first CD; radio programmers might note that the grimly quiet passages of the Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 ("Pathétique") may require maximum potentiometer settings, if not then some. All this said, when you get down to the music itself, these are unusually strong Tchaikovsky performances that provide serious competition for the hundreds of other recordings on the market of these three warhorse symphonies. Sample the pizzicato "Scherzo" of the Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36, where conductor Christian Lindberg delivers the requisite uncanny tension that makes the finale really seem to explode. All the other big movements are solid (try the unusually light 5/4 non-waltz from the "Pathétique"), and the ensemble work is testimony to the often astounding quality of Norway's regional orchestras. Nor can one fault the engineering; the two different recording venues are stitched seamlessly together. Highly recommended.

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