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Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies Box set, Import

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, Import, October 25, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Riccardo Muti conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New Philharmonica Orchestra in these late-'70s and early-'80s performances recorded by EMI! Includes all seven Tchaikovsky symphonies ( Nos. 1-6 and Manfred ), plus five other orchestral pieces including Suite from Swan Lake and Symphonic Fantasy da Rimini .

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Symphony No. 1 in G minor ('Winter Dreams'), Op. 13: Allegro tranquillo
  2. Symphony No. 1 in G minor ('Winter Dreams'), Op. 13: Adagio cantabile ma non tanto
  3. Symphony No. 1 in G minor ('Winter Dreams'), Op. 13: Scherzo, allegro scherzando giocoso
  4. Symphony No. 1 in G minor ('Winter Dreams'), Op. 13: Finale, andante lugubre - allegro maestoso
  5. 1812 -- Festival Overture, for orchestra in E flat major, Op. 49

Disc: 2

  1. Symphony No. 2 in C minor ('Little Russian'), Op. 17: Andante sostenuto - allegro vivo
  2. Symphony No. 2 in C minor ('Little Russian'), Op. 17: Andantino marziale, quasi moderato
  3. Symphony No. 2 in C minor ('Little Russian'), Op. 17: Scherzo, allegro molto vivace
  4. Symphony No. 2 in C minor ('Little Russian'), Op. 17: Finale, moderato assai
  5. Serenade for strings (or piano, 4 hands) in C major, Op. 48: Pezza in Forma di Sonatina
  6. Serenade for strings (or piano, 4 hands) in C major, Op. 48: Valse
  7. Serenade for strings (or piano, 4 hands) in C major, Op. 48: Elegie
  8. Serenade for strings (or piano, 4 hands) in C major, Op. 48: Finale - Tema Russo

Disc: 3

  1. Symphony No. 3 in D major ('Polish'), Op. 29: Introduzione e allegro (moderato assai, Tempo di marcia funebre - allegro brillante)
  2. Symphony No. 3 in D major ('Polish'), Op. 29: Alla tedesca (allegro moderato e semplice)
  3. Symphony No. 3 in D major ('Polish'), Op. 29: Andante elegiaco
  4. Symphony No. 3 in D major ('Polish'), Op. 29: Scherzo (allegro vivo)
  5. Symphony No. 3 in D major ('Polish'), Op. 29: Finale (allegro con fuoco, tempo di Polacca)
  6. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Scene
  7. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Waltz
  8. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Pas de quatre: Dance of the little Swans
  9. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Introduction, Scene & Dance No. 2 of the Queen of the Swans
  10. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Hungarian Dance
  11. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Spanish Dance
  12. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Neapolitan Dance
  13. The Swan Lake, suite, Op. 20a: Mazurka

Disc: 4

  1. Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36: Andante sostenuto-moderato con anima
  2. Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36: Andantino in modo di canzona
  3. Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36: Scherzo, pizzicato ostinato
  4. Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36: Finale, allegro con fuoco
  5. Francesca da Rimini, symphonic fantasy for orchestra in E minor, Op. 32

Disc: 5

  1. Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64: Andante - allegro con anima
  2. Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64: Andante cantabile, con alcuna licenza - moderato con anima
  3. Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64: Valse, allegro moderato
  4. Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64: Finale, andante maestoso - allegro vivace

Disc: 6

  1. Symphony No. 6 in B minor ('Pathétique'), Op. 74: Adagio - allegro non troppo
  2. Symphony No. 6 in B minor ('Pathétique'), Op. 74: Allegro con grazia
  3. Symphony No. 6 in B minor ('Pathétique'), Op. 74: Allegro molto vivace
  4. Symphony No. 6 in B minor ('Pathétique'), Op. 74: Finale, adagio lamentoso - andante
  5. Romeo and Juliet, fantasy-overture for orchestra in B minor (3 versions)

Disc: 7

  1. Manfred Symphony, for orchestra (or piano, 4 hands) in B minor, Op. 58: Lento lugubre-moderato con moto-andante
  2. Manfred Symphony, for orchestra (or piano, 4 hands) in B minor, Op. 58: Vivace con spirito
  3. Manfred Symphony, for orchestra (or piano, 4 hands) in B minor, Op. 58: Andante con moto
  4. Manfred Symphony, for orchestra (or piano, 4 hands) in B minor, Op. 58: Allegro con fuoco


Product Details

  • Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Conductor: Riccardo Muti
  • Composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Audio CD (October 25, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 7
  • Format: Box set, Import
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Brilliant Classics
  • ASIN: B000BLI3TI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,245 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Alan Majeska on May 19, 2006
Riccardo Muti recorded the Tchaikovsky Symphonies in this box with the PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA in the mid to late 1970s, and they are well recorded, with excellent sound and fiery playing, which make this a good bargain. Collectors should be aware: Symphonies 4, 5 and 6 were later recorded with the PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA in the 1980s: these are NOT the same recordings - these are Muti's earlier Philharmonia ones. The Philadelphia items here are the 1812 Overture, Swan Lake Suite, Francesca da Rimini, and Romeo and Juliet.

This is a good overall survey, and a bargain to boot, but collectors should be aware there is heavy competition. To collect discs one at a time would be more costly, so the choice remains one of individual taste. Tchaikovsky's 1st Symphony, "Winter dreams" is very well played under Muti's leadership, and perhaps a little driven. Brilliant's sound is much better than the 1st EMI CD issue of this recording.
Symphony 2, "Little Russian" is also well played and recorded, and the Allegros are really FAST. Symphony 3, "Polish" benefits from blistering fast tempos in the Allegro section of I, and V (Tempo di Polacca) is nearly reckless, but with a thrilling coda. Symphonies 4, 5, and 6 are very good, but there are better recordings elsewhere, including Muti's own Philadelphia recording of 5.

Other options? For Symphony 1: Michael Tilson-Thomas/Boston Symphony (DG Originals), Adrian Leaper/Polish National Orchestra (Naxos), Andrew Litton/Bournemouth Orchestra (Virgin); for Symphony 2: Igor Markevitch/London Symphony (Philips Duo);
Symphony 3: Antoni Wit/Polish Natl. Orch.
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This is really a terrific set. As stated elsewhere, don't look here for refinement. This is the set to turn to for uninhibited thrills: growling basses, walloping tympani, and Italianate passion. IMHO this set has the best 2 & 3 out there, making everyone else's sound like they're sleepwalking through the scores. And the Manfred is just stunning. After I got these I still kept Muti's Philadelphia 5; makes a nice contrast. Good fillers, too.
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Ever since I heard the thrilling opening to his fourth symphony, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky has been one of my favorite composers, and so I jumped at the chance to hear this collection of the complete Tchaikovsky symphonies conducted by Ricardo Muti, leading the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the New Philharmonia Orchestra.

The set contains the six numbered symphonies and the programmatic Manfred symphony, an unjustly lesser-known work composed in 1885, between the Fourth and Fifth symphonies, when Tchaikovsky was at the height of his compositional prowess. Manfred is a work in four traditional movements, based on the poem of the same name by Lord Byron, that describes the mystical tale of a man haunted by some unnamed, internal guilt. Tchaikovsky must have felt a personal connection to the story, having to hide his own homosexuality from the world, and apparently being tormented by that situation. Several passages of the Manfred Symphony (especially from the fourth movement) clearly anticipate Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony, and I don't understand why the piece isn't played much more often. Perhaps it is just the need for the organ that makes it less practical. Nonetheless, it is a fantastic piece--literally--and the performance here, by the Philadelphia Orchestra, is first rate.

Muti's tenure at Philadelphia was not without controversy--he is said to have changed the lush "Philadephia sound" created by Eugene Ormandy to a leaner tone, but in these recordings, the strings are as lush as one could want, the brass as powerful, the woodwinds as rich. And when Muti leads the Philharmonia and New Philharmonia Orchestras, the sound is equally wonderful.
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These performances are dynamic and enjoyable. Yes, sometimes the tympani are quite prominent -- but for me that is a positive. The sound is clean and the presence is really good.
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The Second Symphony recording could be much better. In the final movement, the orchestra sounds too undefined and the drum too near, so the melody loses its energy. Moreover, there's a bit of noise in the other recordings, specially in the calm parts of the works. And, in some occasions, the strings sound a bit far-off (the Fifth final required more strength strings). It's amazing, because these are English EMI recordings, and this combination has always a good result. Despite of it, Mutti's versions of Tchaikovsky symphonies are quite good and, sometimes, very Italian (in rythm and tempo, I mean).
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