A classical music blog by music critic Tim Mangan
Yuri Temirkanov conducts the Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala of Milan.
classical music, music videos
conductors, Tchaikovsky, Yuri Temirkanov
January 2, 2014
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That is far and away the best performance of this that I have ever heard – speaking as a 50 yr veteran of symphony performance. Thank you!
Overall impression is too lightweight for my taste. This Scherzo should be terrifying, so that the funeral music that follows is a logical result of this movement. Unfortunately, this performance sounds to me too much like a brilliant virtuoso romp. The beginning is a little too fast (the first few measures are not even together) and, not surprisingly, they are unable to sustain that speed (85-86). By 5:55 they finally arrive at a tempo in which they should have started (82-83). The big slowdown at 7:10 for just one measure does not make sense. If you want to become piu pesante there, at least have the conviction to stay that way for eight measures or so before returning back to the main tempo. A good performance, but not any more than that.
I mostly agree. The opening is kind of a mess, and the piece, overall, should be darker and fiercer in performance. But as you say, not bad. I go back and forth on the best tempo for this piece. I definitely feel some performances of it are too slow. And there’s a very fast one that I’ve heard — Karajan with Berlin, late 60s or early 70s — that is absolutely thrilling and kind of fierce in the right way.
The Berlin Phil – Karajan recording of this symphony that i have was made in 1964 and the initial tempo of the Scherzo in it is not very fast at all; but do they ever maintain it throughout, and how! There are certainly none of those cutesy ritards anywhere. The strings and brass are particularly impressive; woodwinds, somewhat surprisingly, less so – solo clarinet, for example, is a little weakish. But overall quality of orchestral playing is of course tremendous.
The one I’m remembering was I think made a few years later, with Karajan and Berlin on EMI (not DG) and is very fast. I don’t think I’ve heard faster. (Maybe Mravinsky did it faster, I don’t know.) I’ll see if I can dig it up.
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