Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B minor (Pathétique); Swan Lake Suite

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COMPOSERS: Tchaikovsky
LABELS: DG Classikon
WORKS: Symphony No. 6 in B minor (Pathétique); Swan Lake Suite
PERFORMER: Leningrad PO/Evgeny Mravinsky; Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan
CATALOGUE NO: 439 456-2 ADD (1961/72)
What a splendid coupling. The gem, of course, is Mravinsky’s Pathétique, his famous 1961 account recorded in Wembley Town Hall. Here is a reading of the most majestic pace and uniformity of attack, the more profoundly affecting for its absolute integrity and absence of histrionic excess. You won’t find many theatrical highlights here, but you’ll certainly reel before the dramatic intensity of it all (the gasping passion of the first movement development section, for instance). A legendary performance. Suavely mid-European in style, the Karajan ballet fill-up, with Michel Schwalbé’s solo violin, favours a more cosmetic, less rough-grained approach. Nice if you like your Tchaikovsky slightly soft-centred. Good sound overall. Ates Orga