Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 "Pathétique"; Francesca da Rimini

Neeme Järvi

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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 "Pathétique"; Francesca da Rimini Review

by Blair Sanderson

If ever a composer was ahead of his time, then Tchaikovsky surely lived before the potential of his music could be fully realized. Not only did he die before his colorful works became mainstays of film soundtracks and sources of popular songs, he also missed out on the recording era, in which his orchestral music would prove ideal for demonstrating every improvement in sound reproduction. This excellent hybrid multichannel SACD of the Symphony No. 6, "Pathéthique," and the tone poem Francesca da Rimini is yet another sonic spectacular in a long line of state-of-the-art recordings, perfectly suited for showing off the marvelous depth of surround-sound and the even more splendid colors to be found in Tchaikovsky's scores. In terms of performance, Neeme Järvi and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra find the right mixture of late Romantic ardor and Classical control that this composer strove to balance in his work: the symphony as played here never descends into bathos, but its darkness and pessimism are alleviated by the grace of the quirky Allegro con grazia and the jauntiness of the Allegro molto vivace. Similarly, the warhorse Francesca is presented with more crispness and precision than in many other performances, and accordingly sounds fresher and more exciting than usual. But more than any other quality, the reproduction merits highest marks for presenting Tchaikovsky's scores with the vivid colors they deserve. Highly recommended.

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