Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5: reviews and thoughts

Started by mc ukrneal, May 17, 2013, 02:24:12 AM

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mc ukrneal

For some time now, I have been considering a thread in which I would listen to many versions of Tchaikovsky's fifth symphony.  And that is what this thread is dedicated to – my impressions of the fifth symphony from the many versions available on disc.

The ride here was a strange one. I generally don't buy multiple versions of a work unless 1) I don't like the version I have or 2) There is something different about that version (perhaps different edition, for example). But some years ago, I started an experiment with a few key works that I enjoy, including Tchaikovsky's 5th, allowing myself to buy multiple versions of those works.  Over the years I accumulated a bit more than a dozen different versions. Meanwhile, not too long ago, I happened to be reading a review of one of the many new versions and I was a bit stumped. The reviewer was not only recommending two versions I had never heard, but no mention was made of any of the usually recommended versions. This made me wonder – how do we really know which are the better versions? Has anyone actually listened to them all? How can we trust a reviewer's recommendation when we don't know what they have heard?

And that is the reason for this thread.  The first step was to establish what was out there, and there are a lot more versions than I ever thought (see next postings for list of versions I have so far identified). As of May 2013, and I have not documented all of them yet, there are at least 220+ versions on CD/for download! This does not include versions that appear never to have made it to disc (though appear on LP) or versions only available outside the US (mostly Japan). By the way, that is not a typo, TWO HUNDRED TWENTY PLUS!!!

So as I have been cataloging and ripping various versions, I have asked myself – what makes a good fifth symphony?  I will focus on some key performance issues (and if there are some that you want me to comment on along the way, just let me know and I will) that I think help understand the success (or lack thereof) of the performance. This will include technical performance details like tempo (particularly in the 4th movement, where these change a lot), unison playing (again, particularly in the 4th movement), phrasing, the structural line of the piece, balance of the orchestra, quality of the soloists, cuts or other changes to the score, etc.

One caveat: While I will comment on the sound quality of the piece, I will not focus heavily on this. I will highlight the issue, but what I am looking for is the best performance, not the best sound. Of course, the sound can make a performance better or worse, but I am more interested in the interpretation. Still, there will be at least basic info on this topic for you to make your own purchasing decisions.

For those of you that would like to follow along with the score, here it is: http://imslp.org/wiki/Symphony_No.5,_Op.64_(Tchaikovsky,_Pyotr_Ilyich)

Here is the wiki link for info about the symphony: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._5_(Tchaikovsky)

Here are various links to program notes:
http://www.musicweb-international.com/Programme_Notes/tchaik_sym5.htm http://cso.org/uploadedFiles/1_Tickets_and_Events/Program_Notes/ProgramNotes_Tchaikovsky_Symphony5.pdf
http://www.floridaorchestra.org/florchestra/cmdocs/TchaikSymp5.pdf
http://www.sfsymphony.org/Watch-Listen-Learn/Read-Program-Notes/Program-Notes/TCHAIKOVSKY-Symphony-No-5-in-E-minor,-Opus-64.aspx
http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/?fuseaction=composition&composition_id=2080 
http://bso.http.internapcdn.net/bso/images/program_notes/tchaikovsky_symphony5.pdf

Finally, a few random thoughts.  I don't plan to listen to absolutely every version out there (and there are new ones all the time). I may have some short blind listening comparisons so that you have a chance to hear some of the other versions out there and comment on them.  And feel free to comment, disagree, or listen along as I post. It will take some time to get through them, so this thread may go through dry spells or intense periods of listening. I hope you find it useful (and/or entertaining)!!
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

mc ukrneal

#1
What follows is the list of recordings that I have come across so far. They number 221 that I have uncovered as of May 2013. I have included all mp3 and CD versions I came across at English language sites. I have not included some Japanese releases (in part, because I am not always sure of the information or availability). I have not included LP-only releases. If you spot an error or omission, or have some of the missing information, please PM me with the correct information.

Please keep in mind that many of the booklets are error-prone. Examples include incorrect recording dates, incorrect timings, timings that do not add up to the total listed, etc. I have used actual timings in my media player to determine playing times. After that I used mp3 downloads and then allmusic timings if available. Finally, I used information from the textual materials of the disc itself.

Some sites have been invaluable, particularly this one for Mravinsky: http://www32.ocn.ne.jp/~yemravinsky/discography.htm, and this one for Stokowski: http://www.classical.net/music/guide/society/lssa/disco.php.
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

mc ukrneal

#2
Recordings of Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64.

Conductor
Orchestra
Year Recorded
  Live/Studio 
Timing
  Abbado 
  London Symphony Orchestra 
  1972 
  Studio 
  45:57 
  Abbado 
  Chicago Symphony Orchestra 
  1985 
  Studio 
  45:38 
  Abbado 
  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1994 
  Live 
  45:53 
  Abravanel 
  Utah Symphony Orchestra 
  1991 
  Studio 
  45:58 
  Alberth 
  Cento Soli Orchestra 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  n/a
  Anikhanov 
  St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra 
  1993 
  Studio 
  39:44 
  Ashkenazy 
  Philharmonia Orchestra 
  1978 
  Studio 
  46:25 
  Askim 
  Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra 
  2010 
  Live 
  50:43 
  Barbirolli 
  New York Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1939 
  Live 
  42:33 
  Barbirolli 
  Halle Orchestra 
  1959 
  Live 
  44:07 
  Barenboim 
  Chicago Symphony Orchestra 
  1995 
  Live 
  44:43 
  Barenboim 
  West-Eastern Divan Orchestra 
  2004 
  Live 
  45:05 
  Beecham 
  London Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1939 
  Studio 
  45:04 
  Beer 
  National Symphony Orchestra 
  1944 
  Studio 
  45:05
  Bernstein 
  New York Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1960 
  Studio 
  47:49 
  Bernstein 
  New York Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1988 
  Live 
  52:49 
  Bertini 
  Bamberger Symphoniker 
  1987 
  Studio 
  45:06 
  Blech 
  Berlin State Opera Orchestra 
  1930 
  Studio 
  40:43 
  Bohm 
  London Symphony Orchestra 
  1980 
  Studio 
  51:05 
  Botnari 
  Moscow Philharmonic 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  47:11 
  Boult 
  London Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1959 
  Studio 
  47:38 
  Burgos 
  London Symphony Orchestra 
  1959 
  Studio 
  45:00 
  Butt 
  London Symphony Orchestra 
  2012 
  Studio 
  52:08 
  Caetani 
  Melbourne Symphony Orchestra 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  Cantelli 
  NBC Symphony Orchestra 
  1952 
  Studio 
  43.52 
  Cantelli 
  Orchestra del Teatro della Scala, Milano 
  1950 
  Studio 
  44:10 
  Cantelli 
  Boston Symphony Orchestra 
  1953 
  Live 
  43:10 
  Celibidache 
  London Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1948 
  Live 
  50:32 
  Celibidache 
  Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano 
  1959 
  Live 
  52:05 
  Celibidache 
  Munchner Philharmoniker 
  1982 
  Live 
  46:35 
  Celibidache 
  Munchner Philharmoniker 
  1991 
  Live 
  55:43 
  Celibidache 
  Munchner Philharmoniker 
  1993 
  Live 
  61:13 
  Chailly 
  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1980 
  Studio 
  45:03 
  Coates 
  The Symphony Orchestra 
  1922 
  Studio 
  41:17 
  Delfs 
  Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra 
  2005 
  Live 
  46:02 
  Delman 
  Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Torino
  1984 
  Studio 
  46:19 
  Del Mar 
  London Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1979 
  Studio 
  45:58 
  Dmitriev 
  Academic Symphony Orchestra of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic
  1993 
  Studio 
  46:02 
  Dorati 
  London Symphony Orchestra 
  1961 
  Studio 
  46:02 
  Dudamel 
  Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra 
  2008 
  Studio 
  48:05 
  Dutoit 
  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
  1988 
  Studio 
  46:29 
  Earle 
  Odesa Philharmonic Orchestra 
  n/a 
  Live 
  50:19 
  Edwards 
  London Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1990 
  Studio 
  46:02 
  Eschenbach 
  Philadelphia Orchestra
  2005 
  Live 
  50:27 
  Fedoseyev 
  Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra 
  1998 
  Live 
  44:37 
  Fedotov 
  Kanagawa Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
  n/a 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  Fomichev 
  Kislovodsk Festival Orchestra
  1969 
  Studio 
  48:37 
  Francis 
  Berlin Symphony Orchestra 
  1961 
  Studio 
  46:02 
  Fricsay 
  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  1949 
  n/a 
  42:35 
  Fricsay 
  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1955 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  Fricsay 
  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra 
  1957 
  Live 
  44:36 
  Friedmann 
  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1995 
  Studio 
  45:42 
  Fuente 
  Mineria Symphony Orchestra 
  1987 
  Studio 
  47:48 
  Furtwangler 
  Orchesta Sinfonica di Torino della RAI
  1952 
  Studio 
  47:39 
  Gatti 
  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 
  2003 
  Studio 
  45:10 
  Gergiev 
  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1998 
  Live 
  46:17 
  Gergiev 
  Mariinsky Orchestra 
  2004 
  Live 
  n/a 
  Gunzenhauser 
  Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra
  1987 
  Studio 
  44:47 
  Haitink 
  Concertgebouw Orchestra 
  1974 
  Studio 
  50:20 
  Hartmann 
  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
  n/a 
  Studio 
  46:29 
  Hirokami 
  Columbus Symphony Orchestra 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  Hollreiser 
  Bamberger Symphoniker 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  Honeck 
  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra 
  2006 
  Live 
  46:03 
  Horenstein 
  New Philharmonia Orchestra 
  1968 
  Studio 
  47:08 
  Inbal 
  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
  1989 
  Studio 
  48:35 
  Ivanov 
  USSR State Symphony Orchestra 
  1956 
  Studio 
  45:03 
  Jansons 
  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1984 
  Studio 
  43:09 
  Jansons 
  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
  2010 
  Live 
  45:49 
  Jarvi 
  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra 
  2004 
  Studio 
  47:14 
  Joo 
  Philharmonia Orchestra 
  1993 
  Studio 
  47:26 
  Jordania 
  Russian Federal Orchestra
  n/a 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  Jurowski 
  London Philharmonic Orchestra 
  2011 
  Live 
  42:15 
  Kakhidze 
  Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra 
  n/a 
  Studio 
  46:19 
  Karabchevsky 
  Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire
  2005 
  Studio 
  48:04 
  Karajan 
  Philharmonia Orchestra 
  1952 
  Studio 
  50:12 
  Karajan 
  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Turin 
  1953 
  Studio 
  46:14 
  Karajan 
  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1965 
  Studio 
  48:45 
  Karajan 
  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1971 
  Studio 
  49:26 
  Karajan 
  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1976 
  Studio 
  49:45 
  Karajan 
  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1984 
  Studio 
  47:59 
  Kempe 
  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1959 
  Studio 
  48:29 
  Kempe 
  London Symphony Orchestra 
  1964 
  Live 
  43:53 
  Kempe 
  Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
  1975 
  Live 
  45:46 
  Kitajenko 
  Cologne Gurzenich Orchestra
  2011 
  Studio 
  49:34 
  Kitschin 
  Berlin State Opera Orchestra 
  1928 
  Studio 
  40:22 
  Klemperer 
  Philharmonia Orchestra
  1963 
  Studio 
  45:46 
  Kletzki 
  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
  1967 
  Live 
  45:21 
  Kobayashi 
  Japan Philharmonic Orchestra 
  2004 
  Live 
  46:10 
  Koizumi 
  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  2001 
  Studio 
  48:20 
  Koussevitzky 
  New York Philharmonic Orchestra
  1942 
  Live 
  n/a 
  Koussevitzky 
  Boston Symphony Orchestra 
  1943 
  Live 
  47:39 
  Koussevitzky 
  Boston Symphony Orchestra
  1944 
  Live 
  47:17 
  Kovatchev 
  Sofia Festival Orchestra or Orchestra Philharmonia Polonica
  n/a 
  n/a 
  50:51 
  Krips 
  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  1958 
  Studio 
  n/a 
  Kubelik 
  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1960 
  Studio 
  45:39 
  Kurz 
  Staatskapelle Dresden
  1978 
  Studio 
  44:05 
  Lande 
  St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra
  n/a 
  Studio 
  40:25 
  Lambert 
  London Philharmonic Orchestra 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  Litton 
  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  1989 
  Studio 
  49:06 
  Lozano 
  Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico
  n/a 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  Maag 
  Orchestre Sinfonica RAI di Roma
  1967-82 
  Live 
  45:14 
  Maazel 
  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1963 
  Studio 
  45:01 
  Maazel 
  Cleveland Orchestra
  1981 
  Studio 
  46:43 
  Macal 
  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
  2006 
  Live 
  46:20 
  Magi 
  Uppsala Chamber Orchestra 
  n/a 
  Live 
  49:13 
  Marinescu 
  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1981 
  Studio 
  48:15 
  Marjani 
  Georgian Festival Orchestra
  1994 
  Studio 
  46:07 
  Markevitch 
  London Symphony Orchestra 
  1966 
  Studio 
  43:35 
  Marriner 
  Academy of St. Martins in the Fields 
  1993 
  Studio 
  45:07 
  Masur 
  Gewandhaus Leipzig
  1987 
  Studio 
  47:07 
  Masur 
  Orchestre National de France 
  2005 
  Live 
  47:06 
  Matacic 
  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1960 
  Studio 
  42:43 
  Mehta 
  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1964 
  Studio 
  n/a 
  Mehta 
  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 
  late 70's 
  Studio 
  43:25 
  Mengelberg 
  Concertgebouw Orchestra 
  1940 
  n/a 
  44:04 
  Mengelberg 
  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1940 
  Studio 
  43:07 
  Mikkelsen 
  Ukrainian State Symphony Orchestra 
  1993 
  Studio 
  42:35 
  Mitropoulos 
  New York Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1940 
  Studio 
  43:07 
  Mogilevsky 
  St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  40:25 
  Monteux 
  Orchestre National de France 
  1958 
  n/a 
  44:52 
  Monteux 
  Boston Symphony Orchestra 
  1958 
  Studio 
  43:59 
  Monteux 
  London Symphony Orchestra 
  1963 
  Live 
  44:13 
  Monteux 
  NDR Sinfonieorchester 
  1964 
  Studio 
  42:49 
  Mravinsky 
  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1948 
  Studio 
  n/a 
  Mravinsky 
  USSR State Symphony Orchestra 
  1949 
  Live 
  n/a 
  Mravinsky 
  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1956
  Studio 
  44:00 
  Mravinsky 
  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1960 
  Studio 
  43:04 
  Mravinsky 
  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1961 
  Live 
  n/a 
  Mravinsky 
  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1972 
  Live 
  42:45 
  Mravinsky 
  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1973 
  Live 
  41:29 
  Mravinsky 
  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1978 
  Live 
  n/a 
  Mravinsky 
  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1982 
  Live 
  40:58 
  Mravinsky 
  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1983 
  Live 
  n/a 
  Munih 
  Ljubljana Radio Orchestra
  n/a 
  Studio 
  n/a 
  Muti 
  Philharmonia Orchestra 
  1979 
  Studio 
  47:40 
  Muti 
  Philadelphia Orchestra 
  1991 
  Studio 
  49:19 
  Nanut 
  Slovenian Symphony Orchestra 
  n/a 
  Studio 
  46:03 
  Nelsons 
  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
  2008 
  Studio 
  46:13 
  Nelsson 
  Symphony Orchestra of Baden Baden 
  n/a 
  Live 
  46:55 
  Norrington 
  Radio Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart der SWR
  2007 
  Studio 
  46:04 
  Oistrakh 
  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  1972 
  Live 
  n/a 
  Ormandy 
  Philadelphia Orchestra 
  1950 
  Studio 
  46:16 
  Ormandy 
  Philadelphia Orchestra 
  1959 
  Studio 
  47:53 
  Ormandy 
  Philadelphia Orchestra 
  1974 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  Ormandy 
  Philadelphia Orchestra 
  1981 
  Studio 
  47:12 
  Ozawa 
  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1995 
  Studio 
  46:02 
  Paita 
  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
  n/a 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  Pappano 
  Orchestra Accademia National di Santa Cecilia
  2006 
  Live 
  47:22 
  Petrenko 
  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 
  2008 
  Live 
  47:53 
  Pletnev 
  Russian National Orchestra 
  1995 
  Studio 
  46:35 
  Pletnev 
  Russian National Orchestra 
  2010 
  Studio 
  46:48 
  Plumeri 
  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra 
  2005 
  Studio 
  47:24 
  Polyansky 
  Russian State Symphony Orchestra 
  1993 
  Studio 
  51:07 
  Poppen 
  Deutsche Radio Philharmonic Orchestra 
  2012 
  Studio 
  46:38 
  Pretre 
  New Philharmonia Orchestra 
  1965 
  Studio 
  46:01 
  Previn 
  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1984 
  Studio 
  46:01 
  Prisner 
  Philharmonia Polonica 
  1999 
  Studio 
  50:56 
  Richters 
  Norddeutsche Philharmonie Symphony
  n/a 
  n/a 
  45:24 
  Rodzinsky 
  Cleveland Orchestra 
  1939 
  Studio 
  39:28 
  Rodzinsky 
  New York Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1945 
  Studio 
  n/a 
  Rodzinsky 
  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1954 
  n/a 
  45:47 
  Ronald 
  New Symphony Orchestra 
  1928 
  Studio 
  n/a 
  Rostropovich 
  London Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1978 
  Studio 
  51:58 
  Rostropovich 
  National Symphony Orchestra 
  1991 
  Studio 
  45:01 
  Roszinski 
  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 
  n/a 
  Studio 
  44:47 
  Rozhdestvensky 
  London Symphony Orchestra 
  1987 
  Studio 
  46:56 
  Rozhdestvensky 
  Russian Federation Large Symphony Orchestra
  1988 
  Studio 
  46:09 
  Rozhdestvensky 
  Moscow Symphony Orchestra 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  45:33 
  Saccani 
  Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra 
  2007 
  Live 
  43:01 
  Sado 
  Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin
  2008 
  Studio 
  46:09 
  Sanderling 
  Berlin Symphony Orchestra 
  1979 
  Studio 
  n/a 
  Sargent 
  BBC Symphony Orchestra
  1955 
  n/a 
  45:57 
  Sargent 
  London Symphony Orchestra 
  1959 
  Studio 
  45:10 
  Schmidt-Isserstedt
  NDR Sinfonieorchester
  n/a 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  Semkow 
  Polska Orkiestra Sinfonia Iuventus
  2009 
  Studio 
  48:47 
  Serov 
  Volgograd Philharmonic Orchestra
  n/a 
  n/a 
  44:54 
  Shipway
  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  2007 
  Studio 
  48:15 
  Silvestri 
  Philharmonia Orchestra
  1957 
  Studio 
  47:16 
  Simmons 
  Yaroslavl Symphony Orchestra
  n/a 
  n/a 
  44:54 
  Sinopoli
  Philharmonia Orchestra
  1992 
  Studio 
  45:33 
  Slatkin 
  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
  1988 
  Studio 
  48:38 
  Sokhiev 
  Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse
  2011 
  Studio 
  45:42 
  Solti 
  Paris Conservertoire Orchestra
  1959 
  Studio 
  n/a 
  Solti 
  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  1975 
  Studio 
  47:25 
  Solti 
  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  1987 
  Studio 
  45:13 
  Solti 
  London Symphony Orchestra 
  1994 
  Live 
  44:21 
  Steen 
  Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra
  2011 
  Live 
  47:54 
  Stokowski
  Philadelphia Orchestra
  1934 
  Studio 
  45:56 
  Stokowski
  NBC Symphony Orchestra
  1942 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  Stokowski
  NDR Sinfonieorchester
  1952 
  Live 
  42:37 
  Stokowski
  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra 
  1952 
  Live 
  44:33 
  Stokowski
  Detroit Symphony Orchestra 
  1952 
  Live 
  43:50 
  Stokowski
  Sinfonie Orchester des Nordwestdeutschen Rundfunks   
  1952 
  Live 
  n/a 
  Stokowski
  NBC Symphony Orchestra 
  1953 
  n/a 
  47.45 
  Stokowski
  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra 
  1955 
  Live 
  n/a 
  Stokowski
  New Philharmonia Orchestra 
  1966 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  Stokowski
  New Philharmonia Orchestra 
  1967 
  Studio 
  45:13 
  Stokowski
  American Symphony Orchestra 
  1967 
  Live 
  n/a 
  Stokowski
  International Youth Festival Orchestra 
  1973 
  Live 
  n/a 
  Stupel
  Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra 
  n/a 
  Studio 
  45:31 
  Svetlanov
  USSR Symphony Orchestra 
  1967 
  Studio 
  47:35 
  Svetlanov
  USSR Symphony Orchestra 
  1990 
  Live 
  46:29 
  Svetlanov
  Russian Federation State Symphony Orchestra
  1991 
  Studio 
  n/a 
  Swetlano
  USSR State Symphony Orchestra 
  n/a 
  Studio 
  45:38 
  Szell
  Cleveland Orchestra 
  1959 
  Studio 
  45:44 
  Szell
  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
  1966 
  Live 
  n/a 
  Temirkanov
  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1989 
  Studio 
  50:50 
  Temirkanov
  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra 
  1992 
  Studio 
  49:03 
  Tortelier
  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  1998 
  Live 
  45:49 
  Urbanek
  Prague Festival Orchestra
  1988 
  Studio 
  46:14 
  Valek
  Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra 
  2005 
  Studio 
  43:27 
  Van Kempen
  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra 
  1951 
  Studio 
  43:49 
  Verbitsky
  West Australian Symphony Orchestra
  n/a 
  Studio 
  45:15 
  Wahlander
  St. Petersburg Festival Orchestra 
  n/a 
  n/a 
  41:46 
  Walter
  NBC Symphony Orchestra
  1940 
  Studio 
  45:39 
  Wand
  NDR Sinfonieorchester
  1994 
  Live 
  46:54 
  Wand
  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
  1987 
  n/a 
  45:50 
  Wildner
  Philharmonia Cassovia
  1990 
  Studio 
  47:20 
  Wit
  Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
  1992 
  Studio 
  46:41 
  Zinman
  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
  n/a 
  n/a 
  42:54 
  Zweden
  Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  2009 
  Live 
  42:57 
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

mc ukrneal

#3
List of reviews

Rating System - This is just to help understand, in general, where I think the recording falls compared to other versions. I may change this as I go along. Some of them are hard to classify for various reasons, which is why I have tried to keep it simple. 

Poor/Lousy: If you have one of these, I would get rid of it and get something else. These are really bad.
So So: There are ok, but there are better ones out there. These have some good things to them, but are problematic with too many issues. Better off getting something in the good or excellent category to really hear the work at its best.
Good: These are good versions. These may have issues, but overall you should be getting a good (complete) performance.
Excellent: These are the best versions I have heard. If you have one of these, I don't think you need to look further if you don't want to.

Excellent:
Dmitriev/Academic SO of St Pete Phil/1993
Edwards/LPO/1990
Klemperer/Philharmonia/1963
Van Kempen/Concertgebouw/1951

Good:
Abbado/LSO/1972
Barbirolli/Halle/1959
Barbirolli/New York PO/1939
Beecham/LPO/1939
Bohm/LSO/1980
Chailly/VPO/1980
Dorati/LSO/1961
Dutoit/MSO/1988
Honeck/Pittsburgh SO/2006
Jansons/Oslo/1984
Markevitch/LSO/1966
Petrenko/Royal Liverpool PO/2008
Pletnev/RNO/1995
Silvestri/Philharmonia/1957
Sokhiev/Toulouse/2011
Wit/PNRSO/1992

So So:
Abbado/BPO/1994
Abbado/CSO/1985
Barenboim/CSO/1995
Barenboim/WEDO/2004
Dudamel/Simon Bolivar YO/2008
Gergiev/VPO/1998
Jansons/Bavarian RSO/2009
Karabtchevsky/ON des Pays de la Loire/2005
Kubelik/VPO/1960
Kurz/Staatskapelle/1978
Litton/Bournemouth/1989
Nelsons/CBSO/2008
Pletnev/RNO/2010
Poppen/DRPO/2012
Slatkin/St. Louis/1988

Poor/Lousy:
Anikhanov/St. Pete SSO/1993
Furtwangler/Torino/1952
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mc ukrneal

#4
Reserved just in case
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mc ukrneal

First up: Charles Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. 1988. This is the only commercially available recording that Dutoit has done of this work.
Available in these editions:

(note the last one is a book and accompanying CD)

First movement: Opening a shade hesitant, but overall ok. The clarinet is sometimes inaudible in the opening, which is a shame. Nice full sound though, with good weight to the low strings. In terms of speed it is suitably slow. There is no pause between the opening and the next section. Here the feel is much more assured. The Montreal SO has a nice fat, full sound. All parts are audible in the climaxes and this is a lusciously played version.  What I don't always get from this one is a forward pulse in the quieter moments. So it really shines in the big tuttis, but is sometimes strangely reserved in the quieter/lighter parts. I think this may be in part due to ever so slightly slower speeds in some moments of them. Still, the climaxes are very good. Low brass is excellent (though other brass is sometimes a hair edgy - mostly trumpets). Speed up at around 10:30 is slightly out of synch (unison). Overall, this one is fairly straight-forward – few rubatos/slowdowns, not unduly slow, doesn't overemphasize dynamics, etc. Nicely done on the whole.

Second Movement: Nice start. Solo played with a lot of rubato. It seems a hair out of place as the orchestra does not really play that way. Horn tone is a bit on the colder/harsher side at times. Basically, this is a no nonsense sort of version. It is good, but I can imagine better (even within this approach). That low brass really does have a sweet, fat sound! 

Third movement: This version is definitely showing consistency in interpretation. It is a middling speed, not overly emphasizing anything.

Fourth Movement: Stately start. Not too slow. Transition to the Allegro vivace has a clear timpini hit (down stroke) before they come in (as opposed to just coming in during the trill). It starts off nicely, but then slows down in bad way (as if the weight is too much and they just slow down)! Uch, this was shaping up to be a very good one, but I find this a letdown. It settles in after that (for the most part), though tempi are not always consistent. These tempo inconsistencies are a bit irritating. Tempo changes, however, are nicely observed by the orchestra in great unison (not always the case). One does feel that different departments within the orchestra are fighting for different tempi at times. Last part a bit on the staccato side.

Overall: Good. If you are looking for a version that is not overly romanticized, this is a version to consider. I must add that the low brass have a breathtaking sound at times – bowled me over (strike! ). The inconsistent tempo after the start of the allegro vivace in the fourth movement would probably be a deal breaker for me, but others may not be so critical of this. Sometimes there are fewer details to be found here. Climaxes are outstanding.

Alternative reviews available on the net: None that I could find.
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MishaK

Hey Neal, nice project you're embarking on. I only have a small handful of recordings of the fifth but recently discovered the excellent recording by Sokhiev after hearing that conductor live in the 4th and seeking out his recorded work.

BTW, in your list of available recordings, I'm quite sure that Alberth/Cento Soli Orchestra is an alias. That name has appeared on a number of fakes IIRC. Likewise Ljubljana Radio Orchestra = Slovenian Symphony Orchestra and I've never heard of Munib. Could be the same as the Anton Nanut recording. And if you ever find that 1967 Stokowski/American Symphony recording, please let me know. My parents were in that orchestra at that time. Would love to get my hands on a copy.

Cato

Interesting: some days ago, under the regular Tchaikovsky topic, I wrote a few words about my recollection of the RCA performance in mono by Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony.

The record I thought I recalled was from the early 1950's: here is a recording from the 1940's.  If you can ignore the hiss, you can hear why (I hope) this was such a masterful performance.

https://www.youtube.com/v/TRYoaYw27L8

This CD offers digital remastering, but I am not sure when the performance was recorded:

[asin]B00005V33K[/asin]
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

mc ukrneal

Quote from: MishaK on May 17, 2013, 12:50:06 PM
Hey Neal, nice project you're embarking on. I only have a small handful of recordings of the fifth but recently discovered the excellent recording by Sokhiev after hearing that conductor live in the 4th and seeking out his recorded work.

BTW, in your list of available recordings, I'm quite sure that Alberth/Cento Soli Orchestra is an alias. That name has appeared on a number of fakes IIRC. Likewise Ljubljana Radio Orchestra = Slovenian Symphony Orchestra and I've never heard of Munib. Could be the same as the Anton Nanut recording. And if you ever find that 1967 Stokowski/American Symphony recording, please let me know. My parents were in that orchestra at that time. Would love to get my hands on a copy.
I have the Sokhiev and will be reporting on it. I did enjoy it in my initial listen, but that was in the car, and not the best place for listening.

The Alberth is a very confusing entry. I also thought it was someone else, but included it in hopes someone could set me straight (since I could not be sure). My understanding on the Ljubljana vs Slovenian is also jumbled.  Here is the disc: http://www.amazon.com/Vienna-Master-Series-Tschaikowsky-Symphonie/dp/B000C12370/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368824235&sr=8-1&keywords=tchaikovsky+5+munib. But then Nanut has two entires - one with each orchestra. Looking further, I see Amazon have mispelled the name and it is Marko Munih. I still am not familiar with him, but it does seem like a separate entry from the Nanut (as he also has an allmusic entry).

Alas, I've not seen that Stokowski, but will now keep an eye out for it!
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

mc ukrneal

Quote from: Cato on May 17, 2013, 01:11:39 PM
Interesting: some days ago, under the regular Tchaikovsky topic, I wrote a few words about my recollection of the RCA performance in mono by Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony.

The record I thought I recalled was from the early 1950's: here is a recording from the 1940's.  If you can ignore the hiss, you can hear why (I hope) this was such a masterful performance.

https://www.youtube.com/v/TRYoaYw27L8

This CD offers digital remastering, but I am not sure when the performance was recorded:

[asin]B00005V33K[/asin]
One of the Amazon reviewers indicates it is the 1944 version. On my list of timings by movement, it most closely resembles that as well, so seems likely. I will be listening to 1-2 of his recordings as well. Maybe I will even get the third one I don't have.
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

trung224

Quote from: Cato on May 17, 2013, 01:11:39 PM
Interesting: some days ago, under the regular Tchaikovsky topic, I wrote a few words about my recollection of the RCA performance in mono by Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony.

The record I thought I recalled was from the early 1950's: here is a recording from the 1940's.  If you can ignore the hiss, you can hear why (I hope) this was such a masterful performance.


I too was very impressed with Koussevitzky's performance. His use of rubato, dynamics was very expressive, but also very Russian, like his fellow compatriot Golovanov in Tchaikovsky Sixth.

mc ukrneal

Next up: Siegfried Kurz and the Staatskapelle Dresden. 1978.

Available in these editions:


First movement: Nice start, though clearly less legato and not overly romanticized.  Clarinet is not ideal at the start (out of tune sounding at times). Next section comes quick on the heels, and not as fast as some take it (to start), though here there is some out-of synch playing between the different departments. Climaxes are ok, but the brass seem a bit underweight to me at times. As it goes on, trumpets seem almost tentative at times (they sound like when you don't support the breath enough). With less legato and more staccato, this approach creates a less 'romantic' impact. At times, it even comes across as cold, though the orchestra plays it well. 

Second Movement: Gorgeous opening by the orchestra. Horn plays with vibrato.  Horn sounds a bit tentative and flat in first notes, but quickly gets into things (but he/she does seem to strain throughout). It is played a bit on the faster side. But I feel the orchestra conveys more than the soloist, which is not really a good thing when the solo is so prominent (they seem to have a different vision of how this should be played). This becomes even more noticeable when the woodwinds feature more prominently in their 'solos'. But the climaxes are beautifully managed, building up very organically, though again let down by the trumpets in a couple spots (thus making them less than they could be).  A much more successful movement in my opinion (compared to the first).

Third movement: Initially more legato, which surprised me, and weighs it down a bit. But then they seem to find a better balance and it flows nicely after the first 10-20 seconds.

Fourth Movement: Starts off at a decent pace and sounds convincing. Allegro vivace starts during timpini roll. Tempo is not speedy, but they do pick up the pace as they go along. The orchestra is 100% committed to the interpretation and stick well to the tempo set by the conductor (which changes often in this section –one of the challenges). For someone who likes this movement taken broadly, this is great, because a lot of internal detail is exposed (sometimes missed by others). So it doesn't have the visceral excitement that some have.

Overall: So So. This goes straight ahead and has some wonderful moments. But I kept wishing for more: more confidence in some areas (mostly trumpets), more intensity in the highs, more beautiful horn solo, etc. One of the highlights though is total commitment to the vision. It is for this reason, that I could see somebody bumping it up a level in their rankings, but I find the technical deficiencies to be more damaging than some others (see reviews below).

Alternative reviews available on the net:
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2011/Apr11/tchaikovsky5_0014072BC.htm
http://www.allmusic.com/album/tchaikovsky-symphony-no-5-mw0001823103
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

mc ukrneal

Quote from: MishaK on May 17, 2013, 12:50:06 PM
And if you ever find that 1967 Stokowski/American Symphony recording, please let me know. My parents were in that orchestra at that time. Would love to get my hands on a copy.
Here it is: http://www.musicandarts.com/CDpages/CD4944hc.html. It's $29.99 before taxes and shipping.  I just can't figure out if it is in stock. Amazon also has it, but for $115. I doubt you want it that bad!
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

mc ukrneal

Next up: Alexander Dmitriev and the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the St. Petersburg Philharmonia. 1993.

Available in these editions:

(The second is an mp3 'album')

First movement: Beautiful start. It's speedy though. The clarinet has a beautiful tone and the playing is gorgeous (and quite legato for the most part). This approach carries over into the next section, which has tremendous impact (fantastic climaxes). Brass sound full, trumpets blaring away, and woodwinds in full swing. Strings have a wonderful sound. Tempi are generally faster than most other recordings, but it doesn't seem to suffer anything at all. No lingering here! This one has real fire! Good balance and recorded sound as I can hear each instrument when they come in. Oboe solo is beautifully done. This recording has wonderful flow. And what excitement! 

Second Movement: Beautiful opening, but again does not linger. But then the horn solo is gorgeous (no milking it here though). It has a bit more vibrato than some versions, which may not please everyone, but it is well played. Orchestral highlights are played straight and not overly romanticized. Some may find it too cold as the sound isn't really given time to bloom. But it also doesn't bog down and the structure is well highlighted. Trumpets, though it's 1993, still retain some of that sound they used to have (so a hair blatty and fruity), which may be a plus or minus depending on your preference. It associates with authenticity to some degree for me, and it adds character, so not something I will deduct for. It ends so smoothly – all in all, very well played.

Third movement: Fast. Only 8 other versions are as fast or faster, of which Mravinksy accounts for three of them. It is well played, but here the ebb and flow of the waltz is lost a bit to me at times.

Fourth Movement: No surprise here, a quick start to the movement. And then into the allegro vivace and holy cow! It goes even faster if that is possible (after the hit of the timpini and not during the roll). This is breathless. It doesn't quite have the intensity of Mravinsky, but it rather has a lightness that allows it to hold the fast tempo. And the orchestra is committed to the tempos as well, with nary a hitch in holding to whatever the conductor asks. This precision and discipline are a huge plus in my opinion (and lacking in many other versions). For those who dislike how quickly Mravinsky can go in this section (before the various ending sections), this will be even worse (as it seems faster). But those who want the speed and intensity that Mravinsky brings may also be disappointed as it is lighter in character and less portentous of fate.  It ends in a stately fashion.

Overall: Excellent. Exciting all the way through – what a ride! If you like your fifth to linger, this is not for you. Run far away. But if you like breathtaking speeds, this may be one to consider. The timings make it one of the fastest on record (if we exclude versions with known cuts, it is well within the top 10 fastest).  Sound is outstanding as is the playing. The first excellent recording on just the third try, so I hope there will be many more to follow!

Alternative reviews available on the net:
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1996-02-04/news/9602040222_1_gunter-wand-snow-maiden-alexander-dmitriev

Be kind to your fellow posters!!

MishaK

Quote from: mc ukrneal on May 18, 2013, 10:03:50 AM
Here it is: http://www.musicandarts.com/CDpages/CD4944hc.html. It's $29.99 before taxes and shipping.  I just can't figure out if it is in stock. Amazon also has it, but for $115. I doubt you want it that bad!

Sweet. Thank you so much! I've ordered it from the M&A site.

Marc

Quote from: mc ukrneal on May 19, 2013, 11:09:57 AM
Next up: Alexander Dmitriev and the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the St. Petersburg Philharmonia. 1993.
[....]

Thanks for the review, and for the 2nd review link. Sounds like I might like it. Therefore ordered. :)

madaboutmahler

Exciting project, Neal! And that Dmitriev sounds absolutely thrilling, your review has got me very keen to hear it....! :D
"Music is ... A higher revelation than all Wisdom & Philosophy"
— Ludwig van Beethoven

Brian

Neal, we've talked about this symphony a few times previously - I have probably 12-15 recordings, and will be happy to participate in some small way in this thread when I've got a chance.  :)

mc ukrneal

Quote from: Marc on May 20, 2013, 10:57:24 AM
Thanks for the review, and for the 2nd review link. Sounds like I might like it. Therefore ordered. :)
Oh boy! I hope you like it!
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mc ukrneal

Quote from: Brian on May 20, 2013, 12:28:35 PM
Neal, we've talked about this symphony a few times previously - I have probably 12-15 recordings, and will be happy to participate in some small way in this thread when I've got a chance.  :)
I hope you will post your comments on any of the discs you have heard. I find it more challenging than I thought not to get too bogged down in specifics of phrasing and such, while also giving the reader the understanding of how something sounded whether I personally liked it or not. I am lucky in that I don't have one particular approach that I think has to be followed for this piece to work.
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