This week’s album is the only legal form of relief

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

For a troubled London teenager in the 1960s, there were three available sources of relief. One was illegal, one was immoral, and the third was available every other week at the Royal Festival Hall. I took myself to hear the Tchaikovsky Pathétique more often than I remember, sitting in the backless choir seats, watching the wealthier part of the audience indulge in plush catharsis.

Over time, the relief wore thin.  Tchaikovsky gave way to Mahler, and the Pathétique became a rare item, out of fashion, off the concert menu…..

Read on here.

bychkov lebrecht

And here.

And here.


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  • My copy of this disk arrived yesterday, and I’ve listened to the symphony twice. It is a fine performance and recording. As much as I liked Honeck’s new recording with Pittsburgh, this newer one is just better somehow. I hope Bychkov is able to finish this Tchaikovsky Project as planned; not that we’re lacking in Tchaikovsky recordings. He’s a fine conductor, and when he’s through with Tchaikovsky maybe he’ll give more attention to Franz Schmidt after Proms 2015 marvelous reading of the 2nd symphony. And please, maestro – don’t alter, cut, or sabotage Tchaikovsky’s Manfred like so many conductors do!

  • Of the four or five that Ornandy did with Philly, his first on RCA from the’30s and one of the three stereos should also be considered as among the best.

    • I’d skip his last reading on RCA. But the Columbia/Sony recording is superb. For me, the yardstick to measure all Pathetiques will remain Monteux with Boston on RCA.

  • Please give a listen to Nikolai Golovanov conduct the Pathetique in a recording from 1948 with the All-Union Radio and Central TV Orchestra of the USSR. It will change the way you think about Russian musical interpretation.

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