Tchaikovsky

BBC Music Magazine - - Orchestral Reviews -

Sym­phonies Nos 2 & 3

London Ph­li­har­monic Orches­tra/ Vladimir Jurowski

LPO-0109 77:03 mins

Vladimir Jurowski and the London Phil­har­monic give a de­lec­ta­ble ac­count of Tchaikovsky’s usu­ally less favoured Third Sym­phony. Its five move­ments can sound dis­cur­sive, and its foursquare fi­nale (its mazurka rhythm prompt­ing the Third’s nick­name, ‘Pol­ish’) rather dull. ★ere the funeral march-like in­tro­duc­tion may ap­pear to be given a rather swift and too lightweight ac­count; in fact, this makes clearer the way a mo­tif in the open­ing grad­u­ally trans­forms into the main Al­le­gro theme. Even the oboe’s wist­ful, less ob­vi­ously sym­phonic melody that fol­lows is an ef­fec­tive foil to what has gone be­fore. Jurowski’s con­duct­ing re­mains pur­pose­ful through­out: whether the grace­ful sec­ond and fourth move­ments, or the ex­pres­sive An­dante ele­giac third move­ment, the mu­sic is given its due without milk­ing any of its emo­tion. And the fi­nale is never over­bear­ing, thanks to the LPO’S sen­si­tive shap­ing of its mazurka rhythm.

Not so suc­cess­ful is the less tricky Sec­ond Sym­phony. The brisk first move­ment is well char­ac­terised, but the sec­ond move­ment’s jaunty march sets off just too smartly, los­ing its care­free qual­ity and not al­low­ing the yearn­ing se­condary string theme to re­ally breathe.

The fol­low­ing scherzo, though not par­tic­u­larly slow, sounds lum­ber­ing in com­par­i­son, which is surely not at all Tchaikovsky’s in­ten­tion. Af­ter this, the fi­nale goes very well, Jurowski even re­lent­ing for the fi­nal ap­pear­ance of the se­condary lilt­ing string theme and eas­ing the tempo. The Fes­ti­val

★all sound, though dry-ish, is de­tailed and char­ac­ter­ful enough for one to ap­pre­ci­ate Tchaikovsky’s won­der­ful or­ches­tra­tion in both works. Daniel Jaffé

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