Tchaikovsky poured his emotions into his symphonies, particularly the last three, and posterity has rewarded him by making them inescapable parts of the standard orchestral repertoire. The orchestral suites, however, have not attained the popularity of the symphonies, perhaps because they trade tragedy for wistfulness and exaltation for charm. All four are the work of a mature composer who already had completed popular masterpieces such as his Fourth Symphony, his Violin Concerto, his First Piano Concerto and his opera ‘Eugene Onegin’. They are some of the most lush (No. 3) and charming (No. 4) pieces he wrote. Both have wonderful Theme and Variation finales and while the Third has distinct echoes of the nostalgic music of ‘Eugene Onegin’, the Fourth, subtitled ‘Mozartiana’ consists of orchestrations of four of Mozart’s piano pieces. Everyone will recognize the ‘Ave verum corpus’, of course, which Tchaikovsky adapted from a piano arrangement of the piece by Liszt.
Lorin Maazel’s recording of the Third Suite has been on the ‘request for reissue’ lists of many and the most sensible coupling is, of course, the ‘Mozartiana’. The Third represents some of the finest playing from the Vienna Philharmonic and the recording is warm to boot.
PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY
Suite No. 3 in G major, Op. 55
Suite No. 4 in G major, Op. 61 ‘Mozartiana’
Ruggiero Ricci, violin solo
L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
FIRST INTERNATIONAL RELEASE ON CD
Recording producers: James Mallinson (No. 3); John Mordler (No. 4)
Recording engineer: James Lock
Recording location: Sofiensaal, Vienna, June 1977 (No. 3); Victoria Hall, Geneva, December 1966 (No. 4)
Glorious string playing and integrated brass and wind with real momentum and purpose in the playing … Maazel is the winner and the sound is stunning’ 2MBS Fine Music
‘It’s a bargain of a lifetime. There is no need to delay, only extreme enjoyment awaits you’ MusicWeb
‘…ravishing playing of the VPO…with Maazel relaxed and unforced (Suite No. 3) … All the things one expects from a classic Ansermet performance are here (Suite No. 4)’ **(*) Penguin Guide