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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 - Järvi

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 - Järvi

BIS  BIS-SACD-1458

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Tchaikovsky:
Symphony No.4 in F minor Op. 36
Serenade for Strings in C major Op. 48
Elegy in Memory of I.V. Samarin

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Järvi (conductor)


The time has now come to Symphony No.4, which – along with No.5 – Tchaikovsky himself often referred to in the context of ‘Fate’, symbolized by a ‘fate motif’ which opens the work and which the composer described as follows: ‘This is fate, destiny, that portentous power that will not permit our quest for happiness to be successful, that jealously stands guard so that our joyfulness and peace are neither perfect nor cloudless, that hangs like the sword of Damocles above our heads and constantly, continually poisons our soul.’

In his description of the end of the work, Tchaikovsky sounds a note of resignation: ‘Look within yourself; do not say that everything in this world is sad. There are simple but strong joys. Rejoice in others’ rejoicing. To live is still possible.’ This last statement seems to be borne out in full by his Serenade for Strings in C major, composed three years later, a carefree expression of happiness that is never seriously disturbed by minor-key sonorities. The programme finishes off with an Elegy, also for strings.

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PCM recording

Recorded in May 2003 (Symphony No. 4), in August 2004 (Elegy) and in March 2005 (Serenade) at the Gothenburg Concert Hall, Sweden, 24/44.1

Recording producer: Lennart Dehn

Sound engineer: Michael Bergek

Digital editing: Torbjörn Samuelsson (Symphony No. 4, Serenade), Tomas Ferngren (Elegy)

Mastering: Torbjörn Samuelsson

SACD authoring: Bastiaan Kuijt

Equipment: Neumann microphones; Crookwood and Millennia microphone amplifiers; Meitner DSD interface; Pyramix Audio Workstation HD system; Adam loudspeakers

Executive producers: Robert Suff (BIS), Martin Hansson (Göteborgs Symfoniker)
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Review by Mark Novak - June 25, 2008

This one is a disappointment. I have the other releases in this series which I've generally found to be good performances but the performance of the 4th here seems hapahazard and episodic. Jarvi seems not interested in the music and the orchestral sections don't cohere very well except in the 4th movement which I found to be exciting. For comparison purposes, the earlier CD release by Serebrier (also on Bis) is superior in every way as is the Jannsons on Chandos CD. It's a pity that Bis did not pursue a Tchaik. series with Serebrier rather than Jarvi in SACD sound.

The sound (stereo) is OK for the most part. The sonic perspective is a little bit distant for my tastes. The final movement comes off particularly well with nice, full bass drum whacks permeating the room. Bis is my favorite label and so it pains me to be so lukewarm with this review. I noted that the recording was done in 2003 so maybe the delay in releasing it reflects Bis's own view of the performance (though I wouldn't expect Robert to say anything other than he views it as a fine performance). Haven't listened to the Serenade for String yet but that is a filler IMO and even a terrific performance there would not change my mind about the featured work.

Copyright © 2008 Mark Novak and HRAudio.net

Performance:

Sonics (Stereo):

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