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Reviews: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5, Francesca da Rimini - Jansons

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Reviews: 1

Review by willemvoorneveld July 19, 2012 (10 of 11 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
For a long time I had the Mravinsky recordings (1960’s DGG) as my preferred set for Tchaikovsky 4,5 and 6, but sound quality, as can be expected, was not good at all on the 80’s’ ADD CD’s.

We know that each of Tchaikovsky’s late symphonies concerns a conflict of a courageous but deeply vulnerable personality with a mysterious Fate.

In the 5th the fate theme is, somewhat over-insistently, forced into triumph. Some conductors choose to accentuate the triumph (Gergiev), others keep a more balanced tone like Mravinsky.

Jansons seems to follow the Mravinsky reading (as did Pletnev in his last Pentatone outing). I prefer this approach more than the over jubilant one; Tchaikovsky can become very tiring otherwise, is my very subjective view on this.

Jansons achieves his intelligently entertaining result by following Tchaikovsky’s dynamic note’s very carefully. It is probably not by accident that his timing for the 3 first movements is “seconds” close to Mravinsky’s. Only in Movement 4 Jansons takes a full minute more to deepen the effect of the Molto vivace, followed by a Moderato …..maestoso , concluded by a sweeping Presto. The accurate playing of his SBR Orchestra adds to the message he wants to convey: e.g. the 4th movement has no other purpose than to serve as a conclusion to the other 3 movements and as such this work has been presented as a symphony and not as a symphonic poem (as Gergiev).

The recording in Multi-Channel is clearly of high resolution quality. All instruments are generously presented, especially violins sound very good and realistic, but when the orchestra plays p…ppp, no symphony hall information is coming out of my speakers. Only in Forte passages some hall information is coming through, especially when the trumpets are blown or heavy percussion is at work. This effect reduces the live experience somewhat and is totally different from recordings made In Amsterdam, Boston and San Fransisco to mention a few. In all these recordings there is a constant awareness of being in a Concert hall (in Multi-Channel mode). It would be interesting to hear from the recording engineers (MSM Munchen) what they had in mind, or is it just a feature of the “Philharmonie im Gasteig” with its range like shape.

willem

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