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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, Pathetique
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Symphony No.6 in B minor, Op.74 "Pathétique" (1893)
Capriccio Italien Op. 45 (1880)
Conductor: Mikhail Pletnev
Part of the RNO's Tchaikovsky Cycle
PTC 5186386 (2011)

Acclaim for Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, Pathetique

"Mikhail Pletnev remains one of the most intelligent and stylish Tchaikovsky conductors around… [He] possesses the happy knack of making one appreciate afresh just how extraordinarily novel and daringly spare much of the scoring is. The Scherzo in particular ignites, the tempo challengingly swift yet without any suggestion of breathless fluster (indeed, the control is awesome)… There's an element of restraint about Pletnev's treatment of those toweringly eloquent second subjects in the first movement and finale which I personally find supremely touching..."

Gramophone (January 2012)

"This 6th is quite fabulous... This is the first recording that supplants [Stokowski's recording with the Boston Symphony Orchestra]... There is a tension built by the conductor and his orchestra that is hard to imagine... The sonics on this disc are spectacular... This is just a stunning disc."

HiFi+ (January 2012)

"...this 2011 PentaTone release makes the symphony sound utterly revitalized and refreshed, so listening to all the details and dimensions of the Russian National Orchestra's playing is a pleasure... The multichannel reproduction is as spacious, lush, and visceral as any live performance... Pletnev also includes the Capriccio Italien as filler, a sunny piece that brightens the mood ..., so this is a well-balanced program, in addition to being a sonic spectacular."

All Music (November 2011) [more]

Five Stars
"Pletnev emphasizes the passion and the pathos, the sense that fate dogs even the best intentions of man. He brings a tasteful soupçon of rubato to the tender second melody, as if hanging on to this brief respite from the pervasive angst. Otherwise, however, Pletnev keeps the levels of tension almost at the breaking point, just on the emotional razor's edge; the development section has explosive energy here...This Sixth is the finest Tchaikovsky symphony performance I've heard from a conductor whose second go at the repertoire is proving to be nigh indispensible...Pentatone complements the efforts of Pletnev and his orchestra with the best recording yet in this series..."

(November 2011)

Surely among the finest Pathétiques to be had
"...a stunning interpretation in every way. The first movement exposition has dramatic power with majestic brass punctuation, yet no lack of sensitivity for the famous principal theme. The third movement begins at a hectic pace but soon settles down, a riveting performance indeed, and there is no lack of tragedy in the finale. This surely is among the finest Pathétiques to be had, with the Capriccio a vivacious filler."

Classical CD Review (October 2011) [more]

"The re-visiting of the Tchaikovsky symphonies by Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra gets better with each issue of this new cycle, and this coupling of the ‘Pathétique’ and ‘Capriccio Italien’ should be very high on anyone’s audition short-list of desirable versions of these ever-popular war-horses... Throughout the RNO respond to Pletnev’s direction with idiomatic playing of great character... Erdo Groot and the Polyhymnia team have once again produced a sound picture of outstanding realism and richness... Highly recommended to all in tune with the style of Pletnev’s interpretations." (October 2011) [more]

What They’re Saying

"In a modern classical world, rife with reports of under-funded and dying ensembles, curtailed schedules and shrinking audiences, the foundation and continued growth of [the Russian National Orchestra] seems not only miraculous; it just may be the most important cultural story of our time."

International Piano