Bought in June 2017.
First listen: 27-6-2017.
Recording dates: June & December 2002. August 2003.
Recording venue: Gothenburg Hall, Sweden.
Recording engineer: Michael Bergek.
Running time: 77:10.
Relevance for me: Essential.
State of the Art sound.
Symphony No. 1 in G minor, "Winter Daydreams". (1866/74).
The Snow Maiden, opus 12. (1873) Orchestral excerpts from the incidental music to Ostrovsky's play.
Romeo and Juliet. (1869/70/80. Fantasy overture after Shakespeare.
Works performed by:
Gothenburg SO, Neeme Järvi.
Tchaikovsky is number one in my collection as a composer. It was always so, and will stay put. This set was for a long time on my list to purchase, but somehow it was always kept in the waiting queue. I ended this misery this month and ordered the whole set. And by what I hear I should have done that much earlier, for I find it in all respects one of the best sets I have, and in the case of the first symphony I am convinced that it is in the top 3 of best recorded and performed interpretations. What a joy this recording is. You can walk through the desks, not a detail is missed, whether in the woodwinds or strings and for that matter the brass. Furthermore, Järvi is a master in applying dynamics and accents. He keeps the whole orchestral image crystal clear, with a amazing lucidity, and a razor sharp control on the total sound. The fact that you literally hear all the details, no matter how loud or soft the orchestra plays, is an exceptional feat. The engineer understood Järvi's technical skills and recorded it most faithfully. The front to back image is stunning no less. The first symphony opens this disc. It is just oozing with virility, and it's visceral quality is immediately noticeable. Soft grained when the music needs it, blazing with rhythmical precision and pounding passion, as if his dear life depended on it. He squeezes the last ounce of grandeur and weight out of this score with plenty of swagger. The clarity and control, and this really impeccable orchestral discipline, makes this performance a top recommendation. How beautiful the Finale is, thrillingly precise like a swiss clockwork. Or the finely pointed Scherzo, with an infectious lilt so well known in Tchaikovsky's musical context. No undue sentimentality here, but a pure and clean romantic approach, rubato and legato sparingly applied.
But nothing prepares you really for the Snow Maiden and Romeo and Juliet. Both works have so much to tell, that your ears at times get an overload of melodies and harmonies, every one of them filling my heart with joy. The expressive statement of both works is one of enduring excellence. Unexpected moods, flowing without interruption and full of expectations, it all gives you a sense of how great this composer actually was. His emotional trajectory is always clear and stated with authority. Expansive and sometimes hypnotic fiestas, this is high end music with deep roots in the very soul of Tchaikovsky.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
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