One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
Vivaldi
9 cello sonatas
Dussek
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!


Quite splendid


Winning performances


Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc


a huge talent


A wonderful disc


Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!


Roth’s finest Mahler yet


Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op.54 [29.44]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)

Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op.74 Pathétique* [45.35]
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Mariss Jansons
rec. Herkulessaal, Munich, 18-21 March 2013; *Philharmonie im Gasteig, Munich, 4-7 June 2013
BR KLASSIK 900123 [75.25]

These two live recordings conducted by Mariss Jansons constitute the conductor’s second outings on disc with each of these scores. Both were previously given studio readings with the Oslo Philharmonic, the Tchaikovsky for Chandos (highly regarded at the time of the original issue) and the Shostakovich for EMI (less universally favoured). Although both the new issues are described as live recordings, the dates given certainly imply that the performances have been edited together from several individual sessions. It must be observed that this procedure rather negates the professed major advantage of live recordings – the sense of spontaneity generated – even while avoiding minor mishaps which might arise. The audience is remarkably silent throughout, only bursting in with applause at the end of each symphony.
 
The performance of the Pathétique gets off to a very unfortunate start, with a frog seemingly finding its momentary way into the reed during the opening bassoon statement of the main theme (track 4, 0.07). After that things improve enormously, but the sense of excitement that informed Jansons’ Oslo recording has somehow gone missing. The orchestral playing is superb, not least in the fizzing account of the first movement development; but in his anxiety to avoid over-larding the score with emotion, Jansons pulls his punches in the statement of the second subject which precedes it. Then again at the recapitulation (13.02) Jansons makes a massive rallentando to drive home the histrionic elements with maximum impact.
 
The 5/4 waltz is given a delicious lilt, but the opening of the scherzo-march is perhaps a little too carefully controlled, not given the thistledown lightness of touch which it could possess and which we can hear in other recordings. Jansons sustains plenty of momentum right up to the end, and the plangent entry of the strings at the beginning of the slow finale has just the right sense of contrast. A suspicious silence before the opening leads one to suspect that audience reaction may have been edited out. The trombones at 7.50 are not perhaps as ppppp as they might be, but that is a common failing. On the whole this is a performance that would make a massive impression in the concert hall, but whether it would repay repeated listening at home may be more doubtful. There is a long spellbound silence at the end before the audience bursts in with their applause.
 
I have observed that Jansons’ Oslo recording of the Shostakovich Sixth was not received with universal acclaim on its original release. Complaints focused on a perception that the ‘punches’ of the music were being pulled with a consequent loss of character. Indeed one notes a certain lack of character here too. This can be heard in the flute solo during the first movement (track 1, 6.42) even while appreciating the heartfelt outburst from the strings that follows. The scherzo fizzes with life in a way that the Oslo reading did not, while the finale bounces along with all the exuberance that one could wish.
 
The coupling of these two Sixth Symphonies by Russian composers is, as far as I aware, unique in the catalogue. Those wishing to hear Jansons’ later thoughts on these scores will be well satisfied with both the performances and the superlatively engineered recording.
 
Paul Corfield Godfrey
 
Previous review: Michael Cookson

Masterwork Index: Shostakovich symphony 6 ~~ Tchaikovsky symphony 6