Yuri Temirkonov at the Proms
This is an unusual memento of a BBC Proms performance from 20 years ago – Yuri Temirkanov’s only recording of Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony, with the St Petersburg Philharmonic. It’s introduced by a lively account of Berlioz’s Le corsaire overture, putting the orchestra through its paces and displaying its excellent virtuosity.
The Tchaikovsky is a beautiful and dramatic performance, though whether the DVD is worth buying rather depends on your feelings about the last two movements. Both have extensive cuts – the finale loses around a third of its length – and amendments. The greatest change is to the end of the Symphony, where, instead of an apotheosis by the organ, Temirkanov reruns the doom-laden coda from the first movement.
Overall, the orchestra makes a lovely sound and responds well to Temirkanov’s expressive hands. They make a rather tentative start, though, to Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’, which is offered as one of the encores. The camerawork is generally uninspired, betraying an apparent lack of planning with some abrupt pans, pointless focusing on the backs of players and poorly framed shots.
Still, there is plenty of footage of Temirkanov, looking amiable (and, incidentally, rather younger than the portrait shot on the DVD cover). He clearly enjoyed the concert.