Tchaikovsky "Little Russian" Symphony #2/Jansons

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Lance
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Tchaikovsky "Little Russian" Symphony #2/Jansons

Post by Lance » Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:34 am

The other day I heard Sirius/XM Radio in the car play Tchaikovsky's "Little Russian" Symphony (No. 2) with Mariss Jansons leading the Oslo Philharmonic, a recording on the Chandos label. I probably have all the Tchaikovsky symphonies with among the finest orchestras and conductors that have been released. A favourite has always been those conducted by Evgeny Mravinsky (of the 4th, 5th and 6th in his stereo version for DGG). The "Little Russian," along with No. 1 (Winter Dreams) are special favourites of mine. However, upon hearing the Oslo under Jansons, I heard more "music" and exquisite interpretation in his recording than any other performance on discs I have ever head. What an impression it made! The reviews have largely been outstanding on Jansons's complete set.
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Re: Tchaikovsky "Little Russian" Symphony #2/Jansons

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:16 pm

Speaking of Tchaikovsky.......

I'll have to admit, Lance, that I do not have the Jansons set, and now that you've drawn my attention to it, it looks like I'll have to get it: the reviews on amazon are overwhelmingly positive. I have Mravinsky's IV, V, & VI and, while I admire IV & V, the conductor's distortions of tempo in VI make it unlistenable for me. Living in the Philadelphia suburbs as a youngster, I grew up with Ormandy's version which is quite good, but it needs an update to a digital recording. That said, I do have Abbado/Chicago, but they seem a bit tame, while Dorati on Mercury, while quite good, suffers from dated sound.

Thanks for the alert! :D

Rach3
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Re: Tchaikovsky "Little Russian" Symphony #2/Jansons

Post by Rach3 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:06 pm

Thanks for the tip, especially since # 2 is the only Tchaikovsky symphony I listen to with any regularity, # 5 only once in great while.

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Re: Tchaikovsky "Little Russian" Symphony #2/Jansons

Post by lennygoran » Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:36 pm

Lance wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:34 am
Tchaikovsky's "Little Russian" Symphony (No. 2)
Lance love all his symphonies but haven't listened to this one in a long time-it'll be on tonight while I'm in the kitchen! Regards, Len :D

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Re: Tchaikovsky "Little Russian" Symphony #2/Jansons

Post by Rach3 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:03 pm

lennygoran wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:36 pm
Lance love all his symphonies but haven't listened to this one in a long time-it'll be on tonight while I'm in the kitchen! Regards, Len :D
" I often cook with wine.Sometimes,I even add it to the food." WC Fields

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Re: Tchaikovsky "Little Russian" Symphony #2/Jansons

Post by lennygoran » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:01 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:03 pm
" I often cook with wine.Sometimes,I even add it to the food." WC Fields
Good one-for me I do sometimes cook with wine-the thing is I always eat dinner with wine. Regards, Len :lol:

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Re: Tchaikovsky "Little Russian" Symphony #2/Jansons

Post by Wallingford » Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:14 pm

The Second is a work that, until recently, caused me frustration. That main tune to the last movement literally steals the thunder and sweeps aside all that came before it. There's no way the average schmoe in the street can exit the concert hall or the stereo without that tune--and that tune only--on his/her lips. It takes many listenings to, at long last, know all the work's main themes. The scherzo for me was the one that followed (I ALWAYS prefer scherzo movements), the quiet little march that takes the place of a real slow movement came along many years later, and maybe, only in the past year has the opening movement's main subject made any etching on the surface of my memory.....it seems almost like a student composer's earnest yet limited attempt at a big bow-wow symphonic subject.

Coming back to the finale, it takes many listenings to the rather milquetoast second theme that was Tchaikovsky's own creation that the listener remembers it; the tune he so shrewdly used to dominate the work was an old Russian folktune.

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Re: Tchaikovsky "Little Russian" Symphony #2/Jansons

Post by diegobueno » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:07 am

Wallingford wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:14 pm
Coming back to the finale, it takes many listenings to the rather milquetoast second theme that was Tchaikovsky's own creation that the listener remembers it; the tune he so shrewdly used to dominate the work was an old Russian folktune.
I've always been drawn to that second theme in the finale. I found it the catchiest part of it. I was a teenager when I was first getting to know it, and I found that little syncopation really charming. "Hey, Tchaikovsky's gettin' jazzy!", I thought. And then when he really goes to town with it in the development, giving that rhythm to the trombones in a 1-flat 7-6-flat 6-5 pttern (scale degrees), that always made me hoot with delight. It was like Tchaikovsky had forseen jazz and decided to stick a teeny little bit of it in his symphony. The passage I'm talking about happens at the 29:33 mark in Jansons' recording:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOPzq8JitFs

This is contra-historical thinking (and says more about where my mind is at rather than Tchaikovsky's), but I tend to partially judge a performance of this symphony by how well the conductor makes this passage "swing". Jansons does a pretty good job of it.
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Re: Tchaikovsky "Little Russian" Symphony #2/Jansons

Post by diegobueno » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:36 am

Wallingford wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:14 pm
only in the past year has the opening movement's main subject made any etching on the surface of my memory.....it seems almost like a student composer's earnest yet limited attempt at a big bow-wow symphonic subject.
Have you heard the original 1872 version of the symphony? Talk about an earnest attempt at a big bow-wow symphony! He really had a lot of difficulty with that first movement. The original version is just all over the place, really turgid writing, and very confused, or confusing, structurally. Tchaikovsky came back to it a decade later and completely replaced first movement. The opening section with that main theme, and its return in the coda is all that remains. The revised first movement is roughly contemporary with the 4th symphony and sounds a lot more confident and coherent (my opinion. There are people out there who find the original preferable).

In revising the symphony, Tchaikovsky also took a big chunk out of the finale. He jettisoned all of the recap of the first theme. He apparently agreed that the main theme was hogging the spotlight and so reduced its presence by jumping straight to the 2nd theme in the recap.

Here's a recording of the 1872 version:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDJaDUNhjuI
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Re: Tchaikovsky "Little Russian" Symphony #2/Jansons

Post by Heck148 » Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:23 pm

diegobueno wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:07 am
I've always been drawn to that second theme in the finale. I found it the catchiest part of it. I was a teenager when I was first getting to know it, and I found that little syncopation really charming. "Hey, Tchaikovsky's gettin' jazzy!", I thought. And then when he really goes to town with it in the development, giving that rhythm to the trombones in a 1-flat 7-6-flat 6-5 pttern (scale degrees), that always made me hoot with delight. It was like Tchaikovsky had forseen jazz and decided to stick a teeny little bit of it in his symphony.
This is contra-historical thinking (and says more about where my mind is at rather than Tchaikovsky's), but I tend to partially judge a performance of this symphony by how well the conductor makes this passage "swing". Jansons does a pretty good job of it.
Agree completely about the "jazzy" feel to 2nd theme of finale - it really rocks!! I have Abbado/CSO and they really get into it!! Count Basie, here we come!! lol!!
I do really enjoy the first 3 Tchaikovsky symphonies - I've played #s 1 and 2 many times - #3 only on occasion....it is perhaps my favorite of the 3...love the finale - Polacca - another great 2nd theme...

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Re: Tchaikovsky "Little Russian" Symphony #2/Jansons

Post by Lance » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:58 pm

The Jansons Tchaikovsky six symphonies along with Capriccio Italien (6 Chandos discs) arrived today all with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. I'm delighted. I thought I would never want to invest in another complete set of these symphonies until I heard his "Little Russian." One has to look around for the best price. Amazon had it this time.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Tchaikovsky "Little Russian" Symphony #2/Jansons

Post by maestrob » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:51 am

Lance wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:58 pm
The Jansons Tchaikovsky six symphonies along with Capriccio Italien (6 Chandos discs) arrived today all with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. I'm delighted. I thought I would never want to invest in another complete set of these symphonies until I heard his "Little Russian." One has to look around for the best price. Amazon had it this time.
Mine arrived a few days ago from England (Presto Classical), and is sitting on my shelf awaiting the appropriate moment to hear it. I forget how much I paid, but it was less than amazon's price by $10 at the time I ordered. I'm currently working on the Abbado Symphony Box, so Jansons will have to wait. I'm glad to have it, though!

Since I have a gift card balance with amazon, I'm wondering if they are showing higher prices for CDs? Lance, you said your price was lower, but the price amazon displayed to me was HIGHER than Presto. Interesting, don't you think? Another thought: Perhaps because I live in Manhattan, amazon might be displaying higher prices because of my zip code? I wonder...... :?

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Re: Tchaikovsky "Little Russian" Symphony #2/Jansons

Post by Lance » Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:37 pm

Brian, you are correct. Presto's price WAS lower. Normally I check Presto out but apparently didn't this time. I have a lot of CDs from Preston, which is an excellent site and very well operated. So, on this one I bit the bullet with an approximate loss of $10/USD. And yes, I note, too, that Amazon's prices on new releases, boxed sets, etc., seem to be higher than usual. The new Eileen Farrell Sony set, for example, can be had for about $10 less than what Amazon is asking. And now that Amazon charges local tax on orders that even come from international sources, it pays to look around. We don't have the tax problem with Presto but we have it with eBay and many other sources. I'm wondering how prices will be from England now with Brexit.
maestrob wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:51 am
Lance wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:58 pm
The Jansons Tchaikovsky six symphonies along with Capriccio Italien (6 Chandos discs) arrived today all with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. I'm delighted. I thought I would never want to invest in another complete set of these symphonies until I heard his "Little Russian." One has to look around for the best price. Amazon had it this time.
Mine arrived a few days ago from England (Presto Classical), and is sitting on my shelf awaiting the appropriate moment to hear it. I forget how much I paid, but it was less than amazon's price by $10 at the time I ordered. I'm currently working on the Abbado Symphony Box, so Jansons will have to wait. I'm glad to have it, though!

Since I have a gift card balance with amazon, I'm wondering if they are showing higher prices for CDs? Lance, you said your price was lower, but the price amazon displayed to me was HIGHER than Presto. Interesting, don't you think? Another thought: Perhaps because I live in Manhattan, amazon might be displaying higher prices because of my zip code? I wonder...... :?
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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