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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 3, Coronation March - Pletnev

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 3, Coronation March - Pletnev

PentaTone Classics  PTC 5186383

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.3, Coronation March

Russian National Orchestra
Mikhail Pletnev (conductor)

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Review by Graham Williams - November 2, 2012

Mikhail Pletnev's cycle of the six numbered Tchaikovsky symphonies for PentaTone is now completed by this splendid account of the composer's Symphony No.3.

The sheer beauty and realism of the sound on this PentaTone SACD is apparent from the symphony's opening bars and by the time the work's sombre introduction has moved into the main 'Allegro brillante' the layout of the RNO orchestra has been clearly established – antiphonally positioned violins, basses rear left etc. The orchestral image remains rock-steady throughout, and the 5.0 DSD recording gives the sound the warmth and richness that has also characterised the earlier issues in this cycle.

Having recently welcomed Gergiev's bargain version of this symphony with the LSO Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1, 2 & 3 - Gergiev , I now find Pletnev's performance here to be equally compelling, and though there are some differences, the approaches of both conductors are broadly similar. The lovely 'Andante elegaico' at the heart of the work is taken quite slowly, some might say indulgently, but such is the beauty of the playing - with solo flute, bassoon and horn moulding their solos so lovingly - it doesn't seem a moment too long. Pletnev's response to the dance characteristics present in four of the five movements of this symphony is especially engaging and the extra impetus of his performance as a whole, not withstanding the spectacular sound, will surely make it a clear first choice for many listeners.

Neeme Järvi's account of this symphony Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 3 - Järvi, though well recorded, is too hard driven and decidedly lacking in charm, with playing from the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra that is neither as assured or idiomatic as that of the Russian National Orchestra for Pletnev . The only reason to choose Järvi over Pletnev might be for the generous fill-ups. The rather meagre make-weight on this disc is the Coronation March of 1883 that Tchaikovsky composed for the coronation of Tsar Alexander III. Pletnev and the RNO perform this ceremonial piece with great panache, while throughout its six minute span the orchestra's percussion section definitely make up for their absence in the symphony.

Highly recommended.

Copyright © 2012 Graham Williams and HRAudio.net

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