Mravinsky's legendary 1960 Tchaikovsky Late Symphonies
Stereo DGG recordings in stunning new 32-bit XR remasters
All Downloads includes PDF scores of each work
1. "Turning to the Mravinsky performances one is in another world. They tingle with the excitement and electricity that a great live performance generates. His record of No. 4 has tremendous personality even if it is not without idiosyncratic touches. Although the brass in the Leningrad orchestra has a tendency to blare at times, the fact remains that the refinement and imagination that informs the string playing and the beauty of their phrasing puts them in a class of their own. Mravinsky's approach is carefully thought out and his shaping of the architecture, though at times personal, has the merit of greater organic logic. Some of the dynamic markings are not scrupulously observed but microphone placing may account for some of this..."
2. "Mravinsky's accounts of the late Tchaikovsky symphonies have tremendous tension and virtuosity, a sense of spiritual commitment and emotional power that are quite out of the ordinary. Even when, as happens at one point in the first movement of the Fourth Symphony, he ignoes the dynamic markings he does so with such conviction that you are left with the feeling that he is right. These transfers seem to me as every bit as good as the originals that I played relatively recently (I have only sampled these copies) and although my allegiance to Mravinsky's earlier record-now deleted-with the Leningrad Philharmonic of the Pathetique remains unshaken (DGM18334, 2/57), this later version is still one of the most moving and thrilling accounts of the work committed to record. These performances radiate a tremendous power, a sense of truth and authenticity of experience and they remain for me at any rate among the classics of the gramophone."
R.L., The Gramophone
Excerpts: 1. November 1973 (from box set reissue), 2. December 1974 (from individual LP reissues)
Yevgeny Mravinsky made these recordings with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra for DGG whilst on a tour of western Europe in the autumn of 1960 in sessions which took place in London (Symphony No. 4) and Vienna (Symphonies 5 & 6). Although regarded still today as pillars of the recorded canon, reviews both upon release in 1961 and, quoted here, upon reissue in the 1970s, found something lacking sonically. Likewise contemporary reviews of the currently-available DGG CDs.
My aim in carrying out a 32-bit XR remastering of the recordings was to see whether a harmonic rebalancing of the recordings might serve to eliminate these reservations, and I'm pleased to report that substantial improvements have been possible. The sound of the originals was unusually boxy for 1960, with a rather constricted top end and a lack of real depth in the bass. All three of these shortcomings have been resolved here, bringing an even greater sense of immediacy and realism to these fabulous performances.
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