Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4; Symphony No. 5; Symphony No. 6

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COMPOSERS: Tchaikovsky
WORKS: Symphony No. 4; Symphony No. 5; Symphony No. 6
PERFORMER: Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan
CATALOGUE NO: 453 088-2 ADD 1976/77
Time has done nothing to damp the fire of these distinguished performances. Here is Karajan at his inspirational best, with a faultlessly disciplined band of players and a sound balance offering a mixture of luscious warmth, hard-edged tutti attack and physical presence. It has you on the edge of your seat. Comparisons with Mravinsky (DG, 1960) show the greatest divergence in No. 5, where Karajan, broader by seven minutes, eases the tension to make more of the lyrical content. The Pathétique – three minutes longer than Karajan’s first recording (DG, 1939) – is electrifying, the contrasts more naturally blended than the extremes of Bernstein’s final remake (DG, 1986, 12 minutes slower). Ates Orga