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
Purchase via RNO Pentatone Music iTunes



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.


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...

All Music

...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.

Classical CD Review

...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.

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.

What They’re Saying

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International Piano