The surname of Jansons is well-known of course, largely due to Mariss. This release concerns Mariss’s father, Arvīds (1914-84), also a distinguished conductor from Latvia, as is made clear by this revealing portrait of him. Tchaikovsky is the main composer, the Leningrad Philharmonic the main orchestra (Jansons an appointee to it courtesy of Mravinsky) – from London concerts in September 1971, either at the Royal Albert or Royal Festival Halls. Whether in selections from Sleeping Beauty – thrilling, shapely and buoyant – or an exciting and impassioned Francesca, the Leningraders’ playing is superb in terms of virtuosity, tonal allure (albeit with characteristic edge, Soviet style) and discipline, Jansons senior exploring a wide dynamic range and dramatic potency (although Francesca‘s closing bars are a little confused, the music enveloping itself rather than the doomed lovers). Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony (the RFH appearance) is wholly splendid, beautifully judged across the whole to an uplifting ultimate coda of bold timpani and unstinting brass, completing what comes across as a notable occasion.

As a change of composer and ensemble, the Prokofiev (Ulster Hall, Belfast, 1983) is somewhat heavy-handed and short of sparkle, the USSR SO, as good as it is, not quite in the Leningrad league, and the recorded sound is the least good if acceptable; otherwise the reproduction is very fine – all is stereo – expertly remastered by Paul Baily. Jansons died in Manchester from a heart attack during one of his Principal Guest visits to the Hallé (the title afforded him by Barbirolli) – a Mahler Five was broadcast at the time, which is not on YouTube, so this collection of Tchaikovsky performances is welcome and recommendable. ICA Classics ICAC 5177 (2 CDs) is released March 8.

https://outhere-music.com/en/albums/tchaikovsky-symphony-no-5-sleeping-beauty-op-66-excerpts-francesca-da-rimini-prokofiev