When Chandos terminated
Järvi’s contract general opinion
was that it was because the conductor
wished to record more mainstream works
than Chandos would permit. Chandos’s
loss was BIS’s gain because if further
superb performances like this one reach
us as a result, we will be the winners.
BIS started a Tchaikovsky
series with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
with Jose Serebrier a couple of years
ago, and although well received in the
press, did not seem to sell all that
well in the shops. Hopefully this series,
if it continues, will do better. With
the Jansons cycle in their catalogue,
it is totally understandable that Jarvi
didn’t stand a chance with Chandos.
If BIS issue these
performances quickly enough, they may
be the first company with a complete
cycle of Tchaikovsky Symphonies on SACD.
There will definitely be a market for
them. The sixth (Pathétique)
has already been issued to high acclaim,
and it is to be hoped that this cycle
One only wonders if
there will be any further issues in
the Serebrier series now that Järvi
is underway with his. There is already
some duplication between the two.
What is clear is that
the Gothenberg Symphony Orchestra, now
carrying the additional logo "The
National Orchestra of Sweden",
is a clear match for the Bambergers,
although in the final analysis, the
superior acoustic of the Gothenburg
Concert Hall trounces the competition.
Järvi, a long
time fan of Russian music in general,
has an instinctive feel for Tchaikovsky
that comes to the fore here. The Symphony
has a forthright atmosphere in the first
movement, which is entirely appropriate,
given that Tchaikovsky is creating in
sound the effect of a sleigh ride through
the snow. The playing is crisp and bright.
The slow movement is
played with much feeling and the glorious
climax in this movement expands to fulfil
one’s expectations of the composer’s
inspiration. The balletic scherzo is
beautifully played, and the finale is
suitably bucolic, moving forward with
great momentum, ending in a spectacular
display of orchestral colour. I haven’t
enjoyed hearing this symphony so much
for a long time.
The fill-ups are similarly
satisfying. Do we really need yet another
performance of Romeo and Juliet in
the catalogue, particularly when BIS
has released it in the Serebrier series,
on BIS-CD-1398? Perhaps the arrival
of SACD has something to do with this.
The excerpts from The
Snow Maiden are similarly superb
with a particularly fine Dance of
the Buffoons, played at a tremendous
speed and fit to raise the roof. A well-filled
and played compendium of Tchaikovsky’s
orchestral repertoire. More please!