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TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 6, Pathetique David Bernard conducting the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 12, 2018
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Editorial Reviews

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Tchaikovsky toyed with the public on the meaning of his final symphony, proclaiming an underlying program existed, but refusing to disclose it. His death shortly after its premiere brought a perfect storm of mystery and intrigue, leaving an imaginative public to proclaim this work was his suicide note.

In this new Recursive Classics release, David Bernard brings a fresh look at Tchaikovsky s Pathétique . The circumstantial drama that surrounds the Pathétique can be an incentive for performers to see each and every phrase as an opportunity to express mournful longing a practice that isn t especially helpful to the work, says Bernard. And when considering the work as a whole, the suicide note theory that is used as the basis for this thinking is somewhat questionable. The Pathétique s immense scale and relentless passion demands a life force in the composer that simply could not exist inside a person resigned to take his own life.

Bernard sees the Pathétique as Tchaikovsky recalling his earlier works in a new-found artistic voice. You hear Tchaikovsky reimagining his life s work through a more mature and effective lens, says Bernard. The first movement s narrative shape is unmistakably linked to his Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture , requiring a balance between emotional depth and penetrating line in the well-known lyrical second theme, suddenly launching relentlessly driven episodes that bring us to a gut-wrenching largamente and a final retelling of the lyrical theme with an epilogue through which the energy of the movement is released. The second movement reimagines Tchaikovsky s ballet waltzes, requiring a flow that enables a light half note lifted pulse at the ends of each 5/4 measure, gliding the listener from beginning to end. The Third Movement s reconstitution of Tchaikovsky s symphonic finales requires an unceasing energy that drives relentlessly to an ending that is as inevitable as it is exciting. While the first three movements offer a look back, the Finale looks inward to the present, conveying Tchaikovsky s growing awareness of his fate portraying Tchaikovsky s emotional transformation through progressively more expansive pacing. It is here where the entire program of the Pathétique comes into focus gradually, note-by-note, until the work winds down to silence, with us and Tchaikovsky achieving closure in the silence that follows.

Review

...an impressively elegant, thoughtful, well balanced and sophisticated Tchaikovsky Pathétique...carefully sculpted phrasing in the finale's thematic statements, their pointed articulation throughout the second movement and the X ray clarity of the low strings underneath the bassoon solo in the first movement's opening Adagio...The second movement's outer sections take Tchaikovsky's con grazia directive to heart, with the melodies taking playful shape as they move over the bar lines. The finale's songful fluency and unanimity of phrasing communicate a dignified reserve...in the third movement, Bernard's excellent textural contouring gives bristling focus to the compound 12/8 and 4/4 metre, and the march theme's wonderful trombone and tuba parts emerge like newly scrubbed details in a restored painting...Bernard and his musicians frequently shed new and valuable light on a thrice-familiar standard, abetted by a recorded ambiance that evokes concert hall realism. --Gramophone (March 2018)

...a version for our times, no less affective but perhaps less fully drenched in emotive despair. I find it convincing....Snappy crispness and lush, sad fogs come through nicely. And some of the soggy bloat of the large orchestra in some of the less stellar performances is avoided completely. --Gapplegate Classical Modern Music Review (January 18, 2018)

Bernard's reading is one more of beauty and elegance than purely of tragedy, pathos, or suffering....as thrilling as they come...the music appears neither tragic nor sorrowful, just longing, wistful, meditative...with feelings of contemplation and reflection...The ensemble's performance is commendably precise, the contrasts in softer and louder passages especially telling in their nuanced delivery. --Classical Candor (January 2018)


Product details

  • Conductor: David Bernard
  • Composer: Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
  • Audio CD (January 12, 2018)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Recursive Classics
  • ASIN: B0776Q6DHB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #735,096 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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February 11, 2018
Format: Audio CD
February 14, 2018
Format: Audio CD

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