Previously published on October 30

A Tchaikovsky Symphony Cycle begins. This first release includes Francesca da Rimini (Symphonic Fantasy after Dante), one Hell of a performance, an opera for orchestra, incisive, intense, suitably fiery and tempestuous, vivid, raw – explicitly recorded with plenty of bass shudders – contrasted with a central clarinet-led (played winsomely) section as the illicit lovers get together with passion to spend before the doom-laden ‘no way out’ denouement.

Paavo Järvi views the Fifth Symphony expansively, catching its numerous moods and being flexible with tempo – plenty of ardency and dynamic variance in the first movement, beguiling woodwind details too; a sensitively sculptured Andante cantabile, co-principal Ivo Gass’s or Mischa Greull’s horn solo softly-spoken and shapely, the movement’s climax moved towards unerringly and delivered powerfully; a ‘Valse’ that hugs the listener and is then set off with dexterity, nimbly executed; and a Finale that gets the pulses racing, spontaneously charged, leading to a thrilling, adrenalin-fuelled coda, victory now in sight … achieved.

Throughout, the sound from concerts (10/2019, 1/2020 in Tonhalle Maag) is tangible yet natural, the audience scarcely noticeable, and applause is removed. Alpha 659 is released on November 13. Whenever Volume Two appears – first of all Covid regulations need to allow the necessary live events (which are currently not happening in Zurich) – I really look forward to it…