Tchaikovsky: Complete Tone Poems: Fatum; Francesca da Rimini; Hamlet; The Storm; The Tempest; The Voyevode; Romeo & Juliet; 1812 Overture

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COMPOSERS: Tchaikovsky
LABELS: Philips Duo
WORKS: Complete Tone Poems: Fatum; Francesca da Rimini; Hamlet; The Storm; The Tempest; The Voyevode; Romeo & Juliet; 1812 Overture
PERFORMER: Frankfurt RSO/Eliahu Inbal, Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra/Bernard Haitink, New Philharmonia Orchestra/Igor Markevitch
CATALOGUE NO: 442 586-2 ADD (1965-75)
It’s fascinating to hear some of Tchaikovsky’s unjustly neglected orchestral compositions alongside more familiar repertoire. Of particular note are the early yet entirely characteristic Fate and the powerfully evocative Tempest Fantasia. But perhaps the most intriguing offering of all is the strange quasi-Sibelian Voyevode, a daringly original work which Tchaikovsky repudiated in a fit of pique after its first performance in 1891. Recordings and interpretations are of variable quality, however. Haitink’s Romeo is a model of sobriety, whilst Markevitch seems more fired up by the 1812 Overture than by Hamlet, which suffers from some lethargic playing. Inbal secures extremely committed accounts of the lesser known works, though the recording here is a shade too reverberant for my taste. Erik Levi

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