They just don't make Pathétiques like this anymore. Bold, brilliant, and above all totally dedicated, this 1959 recording of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony by Ferenc Fricsay leading the RIAS Berlin stands head and shoulders above nearly every subsequent recording of the work. The reasons are easy to understand: Fricsay does more with the symphony than simply run through its standard sequence of emotions from pathos to bathos. He adds tempo changes -- listen to him push forward in developments and pull back at recapitulations -- color nuances -- listen to the shades of black in the opening Adagio and the degrees of purple in the closing Adagio lamentoso -- and, most of all, emotional subtleties -- listen to the slightly sarcastic sway of the Allegro con grazia waltz and the highly histrionic heroism of the following Allegro molto vivace march -- none of which are in the score.
And although purists might reasonably object to that all-too-obvious contradiction between Fricsay's dedication and his alterations, his complete conviction in his own interpretation makes his performance incredibly compelling. Filled out with two splendidly played orchestral excerpts from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, this Pathétique is among the most persuasive ever recorded and anyone who loves the work should check it out. Deutsche Grammophon's sound is cavernous but unbelievably vivid.
|Symphony No. 6 in B minor ("Pathétique"), Op. 74|
|1. Adagio - Allegro non troppo||Ferenc Fricsay / Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra||21:20||Amazon|
|2. Allegro con grazia||Ferenc Fricsay / Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra||9:20||Amazon|
|3. Allegro molto vivace||Ferenc Fricsay / Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra||8:55||Amazon|
|4. Finale: Adagio lamentoso - Andante||Ferenc Fricsay / Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra||11:12||Amazon|
|Eugene Onegin, opera, Op. 24|
|Valse||Ferenc Fricsay / Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra||6:37||Amazon|
|Polonaise||Ferenc Fricsay / Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra||5:24||Amazon|