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This is a slightly odd twofer of rather low-voltage Tchaikovsky. The playing is marked by its cleanliness and the recording is solid, but these accounts are the definition of that damning with faint praise expression ‘performances to live with’. There are positives: the willingness of Butt to acknowledge the influence of ballet on the music, for example, and there are moments of real beauty. But the move towards the climax of the slow movement of the Fifth is sluggish, almost reluctant; the finale, meanwhile, is somnambulism defined (and includes the odd messy passage). The Sixth, of all Tchaikovsky’s symphonies, needs depth of interpretation, and that is lacking here. The second movement lacks buoyancy and charm, while the finale has more of a tangential relationship to tragedy than a committed one. Only the relatively stormy performance of the rarely-heard Voyevoda offers some compensation, but not enough.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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