Magazine article Gramophone

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6

Magazine article Gramophone

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6

Article excerpt

Tchaikovsky

Symphony No 6, 'Pathetique', Op 74

Park Avenue Chamber Symphony Orchestra /

David Bernard

Recursive (F) RC2059912 (45' * DDD)

In contrast to the rather rough-and-tumble Beethoven Ninth Symphony recorded by David Bernard and the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony that I reviewed in these pages (10/17), the same forces deliver, for the most part, an impressively elegant, thoughtful, well-balanced and sophisticated Tchaikovsky Pathetique.

My main reservation (indeed, my only reservation) concerns the reduced string section, which cannot match their full-size orchestra counterparts in regard to projection, tonal allure, soaring sweep and assured agility. Still, the Park Avenue players compensate through carefully sculpted phrasing in the finale's thematic statements, their pointed articulation throughout the second movement and the X-ray clarity of the low strings underneath the bassoon solo in the first movement's opening Adagio. The orchestra approaches the first theme's faster variant tentatively at first but gain suppleness as the music progresses. A crackling outburst launches a development section that makes up in contrapuntal clarity what it lacks in dynamic force. …

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