Tchaikovsky: Symphonies, Nos 1, 2, 5 – Royal Liverpool PO/Petrenko album review

Thu, Aug 11, 2016, 10:52


Tchaikovsky Symphonies 1, 2 and 5

Vasily Petrenko, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky



Tchaikovsky’s First (Winter Daydreams) and Second (Little Russian) Symphonies, written when he was 26 and 32, are minnows in the popularity stakes compared with the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth.

They caused the composer a lot of trouble, going through multiple revisions, and both still suffer from the musical equivalent of wordiness. But the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s Vasily Petrenko lavishes them with such love and care that it’s their very real charms which stand out.

Petrenko’s approach has bite and urgency, and there’s plenty of both in the more typically Tchaikovskian and more heavily emotional Fifth Symphony, where the cut and thrust of the Liverpool orchestra’s playing is impressive, too.