Symphony No.2 in Bb major D.125 (2) Franz Schubert Download 'Symphony No.2 in Bb major D.125 (2)' on iTunes
Andris Nelsons asserts an impressive influence over the CBSO’s interpretation of two of Tchaikovsky’s masterpieces
Repertoire: Symphony No. 6, ‘Pathétique’; Romeo and Juliet
Artists: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Andris Nelsons
Label: Orfeo C 832 101 A
The Music: Romeo and Juliet, Tchaikovsky’s ‘fantasy-overture’ based on Shakespeare’s play, was one of his first masterpieces. The Sixth Symphony was his last: Tchaikovsky conducted its premiere just nine days before his sudden and unexpected death.
The Performance: Nelsons and the CBSO respond to the ‘Pathétique’ symphony’s mood of fate-shrouded tragedy in a way that’s lyrical rather than melodramatic. The last ounce of ferocity required in those fearsome first-movement climaxes isn’t quite there; and the tempo for the Adagio finale seems a shade too quick to convey the music’s desolation. But there are thrilling moments: the march-like third movement crackles along with impressive momentum and firepower. Romeo and Juliet benefits much from Nelsons’s emphasis on Tchaikovsky’s poetic streak, too.
The Verdict: Even among the formidable recorded competition, the CBSO’s classy, supple playing is a major asset, reflecting Nelson’s impressive influence. Want more? For a fierier way with Tchaikovsky, Antonio Pappano conducts Rome’s Santa Cecilia Orchestra in both pieces on EMI (631 8112 & 370 0652).