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  Exton -
  Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, Francesca da Rimini - Ashkenazy
  Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 "Pathetique", Francesca da Rimini

Philharmonia Orchestra
Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 6 show all

Reviews: 3

Review by sgb December 31, 2004 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The Pathétique on recordings has been something of an enigma to me for many years. I have not yet found a recorded performance that suits me perfectly; Pletnev's earlier recording for Virgin with the Russian National Orchestra is one that the critics have recommended. I suppose it is suitable enough. Pletnev tends to have a great balance of both the élan and dolor that Tchaikovsky intended, but the sound is so dismal as to negate the fine performance.

I am not quite sure that I agree with nabokov's description (below) of this Ashkenazy/Philharmonia interpretation, though. In some subtle ways, it reminds me of the live performance I heard Ozawa & the Boston Symphony give it some thirty years ago. Indeed, like Ozawa, Ashkenazy is not quite so fervent as Pletnev, yet neither Ozawa nor Ashkenazy is so dispassionate as to leave the listener uninvolved. By way of contrast, the Monteux/Boston performance recently released as an RCA Living Stereo SA-CD is awkwardly paced leaving me almost totally disinterested.

What separates Ashkenazy's performance from all the other recordings I've heard is the sound quality. In my estimation, the combination of dynamics, tonal bandwidth and transparency make this one of the finest, if not THE finest, most natural pure digital recordings I've ever heard. The bass itself is astonishing to the point that, IMHO, it sets the standard for what bass on classical recordings should sound like. The sound is a perfect 10; the performance is far more than adequate.

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Review by Rpower May 27, 2003 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I had been looking for a current performance of Tchaikovshy's Symphony No. 6 recorded in DSD as it has always been one of my favorite classical pieces. When I saw the this new Exton SACD by Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia Orchestra, I knew I had a good contender for an excellent performance and sound quality disc.
I ordered it from HMV Japan over the net and was surprised to receive it in just a week. Due to the exchange rate, the price came out to be about $50 delivered, but you've got to pay to get the latest.

Well this disc didn't disappoint as the sound quality is superb, maybe the most realistic symphonic recording I have on SACD. The rear channels add ambient quality with the fronts doing most all of the work. Depth and definition are wonderfully realistic, as are dynamics.

For the last 10 years I have been living with the DG Von Karajan/BPO 1977 performance on CD and have always loved it's white hot drive and emotional contrasts. Ashkenazy's view of this symphony is just as valid as Karajan's, with a little less drive in the outer movements but with more stress on the emotional introspection. The two inner movements are magical and captivating in every way.

The companion piece on the disc, "Francesca da Rimini" is very powerful and satisfying and an excellent choice.

All in all, a wonderful disc in every way and highly recommended.

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Review by nabokov June 27, 2003 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
After a momentous Fifth (on Exton OVGY-00008) I had expected just a bit more from this disc. OK, this is a fine performance but one without any special magic about it. The string playing at start of the first movement sounds a bit uninvolved even. Things do get better later on, and there is certainly enough excitement, but the memorable moments I have come to expect from this combination of orchestra and conductor - and I have fond memories of their Decca recording of the Sixth - are relatively short in supply. A haunting Francesca is more successful, though.

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Works: 2  

Peter Tchaikovsky - Francesca da Rimini, TH 46 Op. 32
Peter Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 6 in B minor, TH 30 Op. 74 "Pathétique"