Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 3, 4 and 6 CD review – depth and rapture

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Petrenko
(Onyx) (2 CDs)

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and their Russian chief conductor Vasily Petrenko have an instinctive rapport, audible in the electrifying first volume in this series (Symphonies 1, 2, 5). It’s evident again here, importantly in the much-loved No 6 (“Pathetique”). From the soulful opening bassoon solo, warm strings and alert woodwind detail, this is a reading of depth and passion rather than surface angst. No 4 blazes, the RLPO brass in glowing form. The “Polish” No 3, with its constant answering phrases and sudden flowing melodies, is as satisfying as this slightly lopsided five-movement symphony can be. The lovely second movement, Alla tedesca, flutes nimble, cellos ardent, perfectly captures a mood of carefree rapture – rare in Tchaikovsky but all the more rewarding for it.


Fiona Maddocks

The GuardianTramp

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