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Discussion: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4, The Seasons - Eschenbach

Posts: 5

Post by Steve Steckel May 12, 2007 (1 of 5)
I received this recording a couple of days ago and I have been comparing it to other recordings I own of the Tchaikovsky Fourth. I have decided that this recording is in the top three. It would be number one except for one fault and that is the tuning of the bass drum in the finale. It is not tight enough and causes too much reverberation which "muddies" the other instruments. The engineering by Ondine is, as with the Saint-Saens third, spectacular. If you are looking for a sedate, "standard" reading do NOT buy this recording. This recording is anything but sedate and certainly is not "standard". I would rate this recording as a ten for sound and nine for performance. Also on this disc is " The Seasons" with Eschenbach on the piano. I don't like solo piano so I cannot comment on the merits or demerits of this performance. What are my other favorites of the Fourth? Marin Alsop and the Colorado Symphony, standard 2.0 cd, on Naxos and Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony on a DVD titled "Keeping Score". The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital, the video is 16-9 Anamorphic. It can be found on the San Francisco Symphonys web-site. One more comment on the Ondine Tchaikovsky Fourth; Contrary to what you may see on some web-sites, rest assured that this sacd is multi-channel ( 5.0 )

Post by seth May 12, 2007 (2 of 5)
I attended one of the performances that this recording was cured from and was not overly thrilled with it. The first two movements were too drawn out, but the final too were quite good. Hearing it again on recording, it's still that way, but I have yet to figure out if I like the performance as a whole.

For those wondering if the bass drum was that loud with that much impact live in-concert, it was. Be careful if you go into the fourth movement with your volume way up.

Post by Steve Steckel May 18, 2007 (3 of 5)
This is in the category of an "up-dating and second thought" ( My apologys to Martin Bookspan ) I have to now place my ranking of the Eschenbach/Philabelphia Tchaikovsky Fourth to the top four, in my opinion. My top choice is a recording I had forgotten that I had. It is by the Utah symphony and Maurice Abravanel on a two-disc package titled, " Tchaikovsky Complete Orchestral Music, Vol.III, on the Vox label. It is not SACD or even DDD. It is ADD and it is MAGNIFICENT. I think it is out of the catalog but, if it can be found buy it. In my opinion, it makes ALL other recordings of this work, that I have heard or own, shrink to insignificance! The balances among the instruments, including the bass drum, are ideal. Young conductors could learn much from this documentation of the work, including but not limited to, how to tune the bass drum to where it punctuates but, does not dominate, as in the Eschenbach.

Post by Windsurfer August 26, 2007 (4 of 5)
I guess, that after having read Seth's cogent review, I now will remove this from my wish list.

Post by seth August 26, 2007 (5 of 5)
Windsurfer said:

I guess, that after having read Seth's cogent review, I now will remove this from my wish list.

I suppose they're going to complete the cycle by releasing the "Pathetique" they recorded last fall. I thought it was pretty boring, but maybe the recording will turn out better.