Wednesday, January 16, 2008

CD REVIEW: Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 "Pathetique"

October 23, 2007
Nice update on Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" symphony,
By Paul Allaer at

Paavo Jarvi became the Cincinnati Symphony's Music Director in September, 2001, and since then the CSO has released 2 albums a year, pretty much like clockwork (one in the Spring, one on the Fall). This is the 12th album since then. On this album (67 min.), the CSO and Maestro Paavo Jarvi release an all-Tchaikovsky album. First up is the "Romeo and Juliet" Ouverture, a 20 min. musical journey that is as rich and warm as anything that the CSO has released, and a great "appetizer" for what follows, namely Tchaikovsly's Symphony No. 6 {"Pathetique"), one of my all-time favorite symphonies (more on that later). Paavo Jarvi brings out the very best in his orchestra on this one, check out for example the waltz-like second movement, which is richly layered and just breathes out on you. Separate from the music, the album comes with excellent liner notes (I won't spoil the surprise, but the empetus behind Tchaikovsky's composing "Romeo and Juliet" makes for very interesting reading...). As mentioned, "Pathetique" is one of my favorite symphonies. In fact, I had it already in my collection, a 1987 recording by the Cleveland Ochestra conducted by Christoph Von Dohnanyi. I played this version after listening to the new Cincinnati Symphony recording, and I couldn't help thinking how much clearer and warmer this new CD sounds as comparted to the 1987 recording. I am not necessarily suggesting that the CSO's version is that much better, but a 20 year difference in recording technology makes it obvious to me that the new CSO recording is the one to have, given a choice. Paavo Jarvi continues to take the CSO to new heights and this latest CD is just another example and confirmation of it. Highly recommended

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