Muti: Tchaikovsky - Symphonies Complete (7 CD box set, FLAC)
Muti: Tchaikovsky - Symphonies Complete (7 CD box set, FLAC)

Orchestra: New Philharmonia Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra of London
Conductor: Riccardo Muti
Composer: Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 7 CD box set
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Brilliant Classics
Size: 1.65 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: no

Disc 1:
01. Symphony No. 1 in G minor (‘Winter Dreams’), Op. 13: Allegro tranquillo
02. Symphony No. 1 in G minor (‘Winter Dreams’), Op. 13: Adagio cantabile ma non tanto
03. Symphony No. 1 in G minor (‘Winter Dreams’), Op. 13: Scherzo, allegro scherzando giocoso
04. Symphony No. 1 in G minor (‘Winter Dreams’), Op. 13: Finale, andante lugubre – allegro maestoso
05. 1812 — Festival Overture, for orchestra in E flat major, Op. 49

Disc 2:
01. Symphony No. 2 in C minor (‘Little Russian’), Op. 17: Andante sostenuto – allegro vivo
02. Symphony No. 2 in C minor (‘Little Russian’), Op. 17: Andantino marziale, quasi moderato
03. Symphony No. 2 in C minor (‘Little Russian’), Op. 17: Scherzo, allegro molto vivace
04. Symphony No. 2 in C minor (‘Little Russian’), Op. 17: Finale, moderato assai
05. Serenade for strings (or piano, 4 hands) in C major, Op. 48: Pezza in Forma di Sonatina
06. Serenade for strings (or piano, 4 hands) in C major, Op. 48: Valse
07. Serenade for strings (or piano, 4 hands) in C major, Op. 48: Elegie
08. Serenade for strings (or piano, 4 hands) in C major, Op. 48: Finale – Tema Russo

Disc 3:
01. Symphony No. 3 in D major (‘Polish’), Op. 29: Introduzione e allegro (moderato assai, Tempo di marcia funebre – allegro brillante)
02. Symphony No. 3 in D major (‘Polish’), Op. 29: Alla tedesca (allegro moderato e semplice)
03. Symphony No. 3 in D major (‘Polish’), Op. 29: Andante elegiaco
04. Symphony No. 3 in D major (‘Polish’), Op. 29: Scherzo (allegro vivo)
05. Symphony No. 3 in D major (‘Polish’), Op. 29: Finale (allegro con fuoco, tempo di Polacca)
06. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Scene
07. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Waltz
08. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Pas de quatre: Dance of the little Swans
09. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Introduction, Scene & Dance No. 2 of the Queen of the Swans
10. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Hungarian Dance
11. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Spanish Dance
12. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Neapolitan Dance
13. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Mazurka

Also available:  Ultimate Decca Series

Disc 4:
01. Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36: Andante sostenuto-moderato con anima
02. Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36: Andantino in modo di canzona
03. Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36: Scherzo, pizzicato ostinato
04. Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36: Finale, allegro con fuoco
05. Francesca da Rimini, symphonic fantasy for orchestra in E minor, Op. 32

Disc 5:
01. Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64: Andante – allegro con anima
02. Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64: Andante cantabile, con alcuna licenza – moderato con anima
03. Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64: Valse, allegro moderato
04. Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64: Finale, andante maestoso – allegro vivace

Disc 6:
01. Symphony No. 6 in B minor (‘Pathétique’), Op. 74: Adagio – allegro non troppo
02. Symphony No. 6 in B minor (‘Pathétique’), Op. 74: Allegro con grazia
03. Symphony No. 6 in B minor (‘Pathétique’), Op. 74: Allegro molto vivace
04. Symphony No. 6 in B minor (‘Pathétique’), Op. 74: Finale, adagio lamentoso – andante
05. Romeo and Juliet, fantasy-overture for orchestra in B minor (3 versions)

Disc 7:
01. Manfred Symphony, for orchestra (or piano, 4 hands) in B minor, Op. 58: Lento lugubre-moderato con moto-andante
02. Manfred Symphony, for orchestra (or piano, 4 hands) in B minor, Op. 58: Vivace con spirito
03. Manfred Symphony, for orchestra (or piano, 4 hands) in B minor, Op. 58: Andante con moto
04. Manfred Symphony, for orchestra (or piano, 4 hands) in B minor, Op. 58: Allegro con fuoco

Excellent sound and fiery playing make this a good bargain

Riccardo Muti recorded the Tchaikovsky Symphonies in this box with the PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA in the mid to late 1970s, and they are well recorded, with excellent sound and fiery playing, which make this a good bargain. Collectors should be aware: Symphonies 4, 5 and 6 were later recorded with the PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA in the 1980s: these are NOT the same recordings – these are Muti’s earlier Philharmonia ones. The Philadelphia items here are the 1812 Overture, Swan Lake Suite, Francesca da Rimini, and Romeo and Juliet.

This is a good overall survey, and a bargain to boot, but collectors should be aware there is heavy competition. To collect discs one at a time would be more costly, so the choice remains one of individual taste. Tchaikovsky’s 1st Symphony, “Winter dreams” is very well played under Muti’s leadership, and perhaps a little driven. Brilliant’s sound is much better than the 1st EMI CD issue of this recording.
Symphony 2, “Little Russian” is also well played and recorded, and the Allegros are really FAST. Symphony 3, “Polish” benefits from blistering fast tempos in the Allegro section of I, and V (Tempo di Polacca) is nearly reckless, but with a thrilling coda. Symphonies 4, 5, and 6 are very good, but there are better recordings elsewhere, including Muti’s own Philadelphia recording of 5.

Other options? For Symphony 1: Michael Tilson-Thomas/Boston Symphony (DG Originals), Adrian Leaper/Polish National Orchestra (Naxos), Andrew Litton/Bournemouth Orchestra (Virgin); for Symphony 2: Igor Markevitch/London Symphony (Philips Duo);
Symphony 3: Antoni Wit/Polish Natl. Orch. (Naxos), Eugene Ormandy/Philadelphia Orchestra (BMG Japan, if you want to import it); Symphony 4: Ormandy/Philadelphia (Sony); Bernstein/New York Philharmonic (Sony – the 1975 recording, NOT the earlier 1960 one); and Thomas Beecham/Royal Philharmonic (in his GREAT CONDUCTORS OF THE 20th Century 2 CD collection, on EMI); for Symphony 5: Ormandy/Philadelphia (Sony); Seiji Ozawa/Berlin Philharmonic (DG); and for Symphony 6: Ormandy/Philadelphia (Sony), Pierre Monteux/Boston (RCA), or Wit/Polish National (Naxos).

Avoid Karajan’s DG recordings: especially of Symphony 3 – he did strange things with the tempos in III and V, which really distract from the music.

For one stop shopping, Muti is very good indeed, but fussier collectors may want to consider a variety of recordings one at a time.

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