Vasily Petrenko / Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1, 2 and 5

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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson

The first volume of a survey of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's symphonies, this two-fer from Onyx presents the Symphony No. 1 in G minor, "Winter Dreams," the Symphony No. 2 in C minor, "Little Russian," and the Symphony No. 5 in E minor, in thrilling performances by Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. This package follows their 2015 release of The Tchaikovsky Album on the Classic FM label, and noting their 2014 release of Tchaikovsky's first two piano concertos on Onyx, it appears that they have made a special commitment to the composer. This is an auspicious beginning for a Tchaikovsky cycle, with atmospheric and expressive interpretations that Petrenko makes his own, and the vibrant and passionate playing of the Liverpool musicians is convincingly Russian in its rich sonorities and weighty emotional depth. Even though the first two symphonies are less familiar to listeners than the Symphony No. 5, which is one of the most popular works in the repertoire, they are just as rewarding and exciting in these spontaneous performances, and Petrenko adds a fiery intensity that is seldom heard in the early works. This series warrants serious attention, and admirers of Petrenko will want to hear all of these superb recordings.

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