Daniel Barenboim / Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 3-6; Romeo and Juliet Overture; 1812 Overture

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Daniel Barenboim's recordings of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's most popular orchestral music have been brought together in this trimline box set from Teldec. Among the most significant works are the Symphony No. 4 in F minor, the Symphony No. 5 in E minor, and the Symphony No. 6 in B minor, "Pathétique," each assigned to its own disc. These live recordings with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra have been admired for their sober mood, and Barenboim's close readings of the scores are quite removed from other conductors' flamboyant interpretations. To fill out the the remainder of the program, studio recordings of the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture and the 1812 Overture are included, both popular pieces that share much of the passion and orchestral color of the symphonies. Somewhat gratuitously, however, the third disc leads off with Barenboim playing Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, "Pathétique," which shares only its soubriquet with Tchaikovsky's last symphony, and appears here only because the original CD release was identical. Recorded between 1995 and 1998, the sound of the set is decent, with minimal audience noise in the concert settings and a good audio range that captures most details.

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