Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony; Francesca da Rimini

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Tchaikovsky
LABELS: BBC Radio Classics
ALBUM TITLE: Tchaikovsky
WORKS: Manfred Symphony; Francesca da Rimini
PERFORMER: Moscow Radio Orchestra/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, LSO/Igor Markevitch
CATALOGUE NO: 15656 91772 ADD

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A master at my school used to give a zero mark to any boy who scored less than five out of ten in his morning test. Without going quite that far here, I wonder how any aspect of an interpretation can be taken seriously when the conductor disfigures a movement with cuts as savagely as does Rozhdestvensky in the finale of the Manfred Symphony.

The intensity of the first three movements is simply cancelled out by an action that makes Tchaikovsky seem structurally incompetent. Markevitch is similarly high-handed in Francesca, where irritating little cuts abound.

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This is a disc which can only be recommended as documenting a wretchedly inartistic and unmusical tradition where conductors thought they knew better than great composers. Anthony Payne