A success story: latest CD release in the Tchaikovsky cycle
Continuing their Tchaikovsky cycle, which has up to now enjoyed outstanding critical reviews, the Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra have recorded the Third Symphony and excerpts from the Sleeping Beauty ballet under the baton of honorary conductor Dmitri Kitaenko. This release is the sixth of eight CDs planned with OehmsClassics.
Tchaikovsky’s Third, generally regarded as one of his early symphonies, is also known as his “Polish” Symphony, since its finale is characterised by polonaise rhythms. The epithet “German Symphony” would have been just as appropriate, as the second movement bears the heading “Alla tedesca”. This work, composed in 1875, contains altogether five movements instead of the usual four. The Moscow audience reacted very positively at the première of the Third Symphony, but its success was later increasingly overshadowed by the three “mature” symphonies. However, it is all too easy to forget the great creative power revealed by Tchaikovsky’s early symphonic work, especially the unjustifiably neglected “Polish” Symphony.
Tchaikovsky’s ballets became almost more famous than his symphonies. They set the standard at that time: Russian ballet music had previously been a mere accompaniment to dance, produced by specialists according to strict specifications. Tchaikovsky also respected the wishes of the renowned choreographer Marius Petipa, but his inspired music in turn influenced the choreography. “Each entrance, each event on stage even,” as Igor Stravinsky enthused over Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, premièred in 1890, “is always individually treated in accordance with the role of each character, and each number has its own flavour.” Such ballet music was able to hold its own in the concert hall, even without any dance to accompany it; thus Sleeping Beauty, like Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, also became established as an orchestral suite in its own right.
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 3 in D, op. 29 (“Polish”)
Sleeping Beauty (suite) op. 66a (excerpts)
1 SACD | OC670