Valery Gergiev, Wiener Philharmoniker – Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 in B minor ‘Pathétique’, Op.74 (2005/2014)
Blu-Ray: LPCM 2.0 24bit/96kHz | DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 & Dolby TrueHD Audio 2.0 24bit/96kHz | No Art | 4,86 GB
or BDAudio Rip > FLAC: 2.0 Stereo, Tracks 24bit/96kHz | 44:00 minutes | Sourced Track – LPCM 2.0 Stereo | 934 MB

Far more than the Tchaikovsky Fourth and Fifth that Decca recorded live with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Gergiev’s Pathetique bids fair to be considered one of the great ones.

Little more than a decade into his international career, Valery Gergiev is being described as “the greatest living conductor.” But is he? Let us compare Gergiev’s new recording of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 with the Vienna Philharmonic and his earlier recording of the same work with the Kirov Orchestra. The new recording is faster, as much as two minutes faster in the outer movements. But it’s not better, no, it’s not at all better. Gergiev’s current interpretation of the Sixth is not only too fast — too fast in the opening movement’s development, too fast in the Allegro molto vivace’s climax, and fatally too fast in the Finale’s Adagio lamentoso — it is too much — too much in its excessive brilliance, too much in its linear intensity, too much in its dramatic exaggerations, and too much in its emotional pathos. In his earlier recording, Gergiev created a performance of sublime despair. In this recording, Gergiev chews the scenery. It doesn’t help that the Vienna Philharmonic now plays with nothing more than its customary virtuosity while the Kirov Orchestra then played with astounding virtuosity and complete dedication. While Philips’ sound now is almost supernaturally present, Philips’ then was preternaturally warm and real. So is Gergiev now the greatest living conductor? The argument could not be made by the evidence of this recording. But was Gergiev then the greatest living conductor? On the evidence of the earlier recording, the argument could be made. (more…)

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphony 6 in B minor “Pathétique” Op. 74
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Daniele Gatti
SACD ISO (2.0/MCH): 3,98 GB | 24B/88,2kHz Stereo FLAC: 1,21 GB | Full Artwork | 3% Recovery Info
Label/Cat#: Harmonia Mundi USA # HMU 807394 | Country/Year: Europe 2006
Genre: Classical | Style: Romantic

By now, the most you can hope for from a new recording of one of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies is not originality of conception but a performance that seizes on a particular (if familiar) element of the work and successfully runs with it. In his live recording on Naïve, Riccardo Muti makes the anguish in the first movement of Symphony 6 seem an end-of-the-world crisis. Herbert von Karajan’s outings with the Berlin Philharmonic on Deutsche Grammophon give the first-movement rhythms the pulsing regularity of a heartbeat that abruptly stops, with bone-chilling effect.

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Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5 & Romeo & Juliet
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Daniele Gatti
SACD ISO (2.0/MCH): 3,12 GB | 24B/88,2kHz Stereo FLAC: 1,04 GB | Full Artwork
Label/Cat#: Harmonia Mundi USA # HMU 807381 | Country/Year: Europe 2004 | 3% Recovery Info
Genre: Classical | Style: Romantic

Review by Blair Sanderson
Considering that the marketplace is saturated with too many recordings of the same masterpieces, there ought to be compelling reasons to record works as overplayed as Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Romeo and Juliet. Daniele Gatti takes the position that Tchaikovsky’s original tempi and dynamics have been ignored for generations and that restoration of these markings presents the works in a dramatically different light. Faster tempi make a real difference, and the music sounds less tortured and maudlin at Gatti’s brisk clip. The symphony has a clear trajectory, and Romeo and Juliet is more combative and driven without the usual languid pacing. But the speed of the performances is possibly less interesting than Gatti’s close attention to dynamics, for this is where the works benefit most. Tchaikovsky’s orchestration is brilliant in Gatti’s lucid and finely gauged readings, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra offers great depth of sound and vivid timbral distinctions. Is the restoration Earth-shattering? Perhaps not to the extent that Baroque works sound radically changed in authentic re-creations. With Tchaikovsky, the differences are subtle and may be less obvious to the untrained ear. Even so, these are refreshing alternatives to the commonplace performances of the past, and Gatti’s reappraisal of these warhorses opens a new area for debate. allmusicguide

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Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 4 & Capriccio Italien op. 45
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Daniele Gatti
SACD ISO: 2,89 GB (Stereo + MCH DSD) | FLAC @ 24bit/88.2kHz: 930 MB | Full Artwork
Label/Cat#: Harmonia Mundi USA # HMU 807393 | Country/Year: Europe 2005 | 3% Rec. Info
Genre: Classical | Style: Romantic

Review by James Leonard
This is really good! No matter how little faith one has in the possibility that anyone could breathe life into a warhorse like Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, Daniele Gatti has done it with the Royal Philharmonic in this 2005 recording for Harmonia Mundi. Coupled with the equally venerable and equally successful Capriccio Italien, Gatti turns in performances that rip and roar, that excite and inspire, performances so cogent and compelling, so strong and sincere that they even make the doubter believe that Tchaikovsky knew what he was doing as a composer after his nearly fatal nervous breakdown after his spectacularly failed marriage attempt. But Gatti’s control of tempo and texture and his attention to color and line do more than breathe life into Tchaikovsky’s Fourth, his conducting puts some backbone into it. Gatti’s rhythms have real muscle, his developments have real point, and his forms have real power, and when combined with the composer’s glorious melodies and expressive harmonies, this Fourth shakes, rattles, and rolls. The Royal Philharmonic’s performance is first class with sweeping strings, warms winds, bold brass, a percussion section of tremendous might and majesty, and an ensemble both characterful and unified. If old timer stereo buffs still hold to the iron-handed Mravinsky or the leather-gloved Abbado, even they will have to admit that only Jansons of digital recordings comes close to Gatti in making the case for Tchaikovsky’s Fourth as a masterful symphony. Harmonia Mundi’s English-based recorded sound is just as clear and bright as its French- or American-based recorded sound, but also warmer and lusher and more vivid. allmusicguide

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Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 6 “Pathetique”
Boston Symphony Orchestra / Pierre Monteux
SACD ISO: 818 MB | FLAC @ 24bit/88.2kHz: 847 MB | Full Artwork | 3% Rec. Info
Label/Cat#: RCA Red Seal “Living Stereo” # 82876-61397-2 RE1 | Country/Year: US 2004
Genre: Classical | Style: Romantic

Pierre Monteux was one of those conductors who could make the most anguished music sound effortless. You might think that this isn’t an advantage in the Pathétique Symphony, but it is. His innate musicality keeps the allegro sections of the first movement pressing smartly forward, while the lyrical second subject never turns sticky. Other performances may be noisier, but Monteux’s cogency offers its own exciting and perfectly valid argument. Certainly no one would take issue with the idiomatic lilt he brings to the second-movement waltz, or with the rhythmic lift he provides in the ensuing march (this really is Tchaikovsky as his most French, isn’t it?). There have been more intense accounts of the finale, but the beautiful playing of the Boston Symphony and Monteux’s refusal to get hysterical remain all of a piece: it’s a very satisfying reading by any standard. The 1955 Living Stereo recording still sounds excellent both in stereo and on (two-channel) SACD, without a large enough difference between them to make a significant difference. This is a very welcome reissue. –David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

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Yevgeny Mravinsky, LPO – Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 4-6 (1961/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 131:23 minutes | 1,49 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Pristine Classical.com | Digital booklets

Mravinsky’s legendary 1960 Tchaikovsky Late Symphonies in stunning new 32-bit XR remaster. Yevgeny Mravinsky made these recordings with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra for DGG whilst on a tour of western Europe in the autumn of 1960 in sessions which took place in London (Symphony No. 4) and Vienna (Symphonies 5 & 6). (more…)