There are so many good sets of the Tchaikovsky symphonies available nowadays at competitive prices that I wonder how many people buy one symphony alone any more. I would never be without Previn’s Royal Philharmonic recording because it is jut so spectacular. By spectacular I don’t just mean exciting and brash in the finale but totally expressive throughout the work from its somber opening and questioning second movement to its lyrical waltz movement.
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Andre Previn
Number of discs: 1
DR-Analysis: DR 13
Size: 1.96 GB
This is Tchaikovsky’s great triumphant symphony and it follows the tradition of beginning in a minor key and ending in the major of the same key (E-flat). There is also a single theme that unites the four movements and which itself is transformed from the dark and mysterious source of the initial conflict to the exciting theme of the triumph. This theme is often discussed as the “Fate Theme”.There have been many things written about the possible source of Tchaikovsky’s inspiration, the nature of the problem and whether the eventual triumph is sincere or is merely resolved musically because that is what a symphony should do. Some notes discovered after his death may indicate that it is very personal in nature and not just a general mytho-heroic symphony about the spirit of man. I’ll leave that for everyone to study for themselves if they are so inclined. Nothing needs to be known specifically to enjoy the deep musical statement which is Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.
Tchaikovsky wrote this symphony after a dry period after the general failure of his Manfred Symphony in 1885, itself his first orchestral work since the Violin Concerto of 1878. The composer wondered if he was all played out and was full of self doubt, but Tchaikovsky was always haunted by such moods. Nevertheless he was determined to compose a symphony in the summer and fall of 1888 and was pleased to complete it. It was received with mixed feelings: in St.Petersburg there was not much of a response but in Hamburg, where even Brahms attended the premiere it was an enormous success. It continued like that with some reviewers praising it while others found the triumphant finale too wild, barbaric and noisy like some kind of Cossack fury. This could have been due to the tastes of the prim Victorian era because today I don’t think anyone would want the finale more buttoned down.
The finale is especially where Previn and the RPO shine. This is one of the most exciting and dynamic finales of this symphony I have ever heard. From tympani and brass to strings and winds, everyone plays with remarkable precision and at the same time with what seems at times to be total abandon. Telarc’s famed sound keeps everything so clear and transparent that you can hear every note of the score, even the harp.This is certainly one of Previn’s finest performances along with his Rachmaninov Second on EMI, his Vaughan Williams symphonies on RCA. I’d also like to put in a word for his too little known Mahler Fourth with Pittsburgh on EMI.
Even the filler deserves note. In this case it’s the opening march from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Tsar Saltan Suite (sometimes titled “The Tsar’s Farewell and Departure”). This five minute piece contains so much of the orchestral color and fairy tale sensibility that the composer was famous for and Previn gets every nuance right. Many conductors just march right through it in a shorter time, but Previn seems to sense every detail and plays it with all the attention he would give a major work. It’s ultimately intangible but there’s a sound and feeling here I don’t get from any other version.
|Symphony No. 5, Op. 64 (In E Minor)|
|A1||I. Andante – Allegro Con Anima||15:03|
|A2||II. Andante Cantabile, Con Alcuna Licenza||13:13|
|B1||III. Valse: Allegro Moderato||5:50|
|B2||IV. Finale: Andante Maestoso – Allegro Vivace||11:39|
|B3||March From Tsar Saltan Suite, Op. 57
Analyzed folder: /192k(Telarc) Tchaikowsky – Symphony No. 5 – Previn
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR12 -0.38 dB -18.47 dB A1 Symphony No. 5, Op. 64 (In E Minor) – I. Andante – Allegro Con Anima.aif
DR12 -1.00 dB -19.56 dB A2 Symphony No. 5, Op. 64 (In E Minor) – II. Andante Cantabile, Con Alcuna Licenza.aif
DR15 -2.08 dB -22.78 dB B1 Symphony No. 5, Op. 64 (In E Minor) – III. Valse- Allegro Moderato.aif
DR12 -0.54 dB -16.04 dB B2 Symphony No. 5, Op. 64 (In E Minor) – IV. Finale- Andante Maestoso – Allegro Vivace.aif
DR14 -0.73 dB -20.09 dB B3 Rimsky-Korsakov – March From Tsar Saltan Suite, Op. 57.aif
Number of files: 5
Official DR value: DR13
- Composed By – Tchaikovsky (tracks: A1 to B2)
- Conductor – André Previn
- Engineer [Recording Engineer] – Jack Renner
- Executive Producer – Robert Woods
- Orchestra – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
- Producer [Recording Producer] – James Mallinson
- RCM: Okki Nokki (L’art du son, Clearaudio’s Diamond Cleaner)
- TT: Vintage (1982) Yamaha PX-3
- Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
Cartridge: ZYX 50R Bloom
- Phono amp: Audio Research SP15 own tube phono section.
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Pre Amp: Audio Research SP15
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
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