WORKS: The Seasons; Suite No. 4 in G (Mozartiana)
PERFORMER: Detroit SO/Neeme Järvi
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9514
Tchaikovsky’s Mozartiana Suite is a fantastic combination of the best of both worlds, and as such will probably be studiously avoided by 18th-century purists (who could learn much from the later composer’s fidelity to Mozart’s art). The text is faithful to Mozart while the orchestration is unmistakably Tchaikovsky: rich but sensitive, deep-hued but clear, the Theme and Variations even boasting a balletic violin solo; and the third movement is the Ave verum corpus, high and exquisite on string choir and harp. It’s a sincere and beautiful tribute from one of the 19th century’s great creative minds to one of the 18th century’s, and a work which deserves far more airing than it usually gets, making this recording most welcome.
The Seasons fares less well; the intimate and melodic piano suite is orchestrated without total conviction by Alexander Gauk, and some of the movements suffer from the loss of that very intimacy. The composer’s inspiration is patchy – though its best moments are vintage Tchaikovsky (‘January’, ‘June’ and ‘October’ are my favourites) – and not helped by over-languidness from Järvi (the ‘November Troika’ needs far more oomph). Sound quality is excellent throughout, both warm and clear. Jessica Duchen