Alpha has already released Symphonies 2 & 4, http://www.colinscolumn.com/tonhalle-orchester-zurich-paavo-jarvi-record-tchaikovsky-2-4-for-alpha/, and the Fifth, http://www.colinscolumn.com/tonhalle-orchester-zurich-paavo-jarvi-record-tchaikovsky-for-alpha/. Now the Six Symphonies are boxed, and the ‘Pathétique’ is concurrently available separately, a freshly considered reading with no need for novelty, coupled with a thrilling Romeo and Juliet. I assume Alpha will play fair with those who already have the single CDs and issue Symphonies 1 (‘Winter Daydreams’) & 3 (‘Polish’) in that form, appreciably lively and perceptive versions that honour the music with individuality yet veracity. The fillers, those new to circulation, are equally distinguished – whether the ‘Waltz’ & ‘Polonaise’ from Eugene Onegin, the Capriccio italien (the coda really sprints), and a quite brilliant version of the Festival Coronation March, given with irrepressible swagger.
But – Alpha and maestro – where is the Manfred Symphony? This masterpiece will come, won’t it? And how about coupling Suite No.3 and the Serenade for Strings? Delectable!
Meanwhile this five-CD set is one to treasure – wonderful music (not least the first three Symphonies), gripping and illuminating performances, superb playing and sound … a great Christmas present. Alpha Classics 778.
How about the Symphony in E flat? A genuine 100% Tchaikovsky symphony, let down by the appallingly childish second subject in the finale – that tune alone was the main reason for Tchaikovsky refashioning much of the music into other works, including the unfinished Third Piano Concerto and the opening bars of the (even more unfinished (!)) Cello Concerto. But it is still worth hearing once in a while – even the finale second subject!