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Igor Markevitch was one of the great Russian conductors of the 20th century. Originally he intended to become a composer, and he studied in Paris under Nadia Boulanger. At this time (1925) he met Diaghilev, who asked him to write a piano concerto and a ballet ‘Rebus’: a superbly spiky work infused with sweet-sour bitonality and rhythmic aggression. Although he had acquired the nickname ‘Igor II’ (the first being Stravinsky), he took a conducting courses with Scherchen, and it was this great conductor who persuaded him to take up the profession, and he abandoned composition in the late 1930s.
His conducting style is incisive, with an ability to build and control tension – ideal for Stravinsky and Bartók. His discography is extensive, but among the most highly regarded of his recordings is the cycle of Tchaikovsky Symphonies he made in the 1960s. Sadly these had a relatively short life in the catalogue and this Newton Classics set is a welcome return for these superb performances.
Recordings made in 1962–66.
New booklet notes.
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 1 In G Minor, Op. 13, "Winter Dreams"
1. Allegro Tranquillo
2. Adagio Cantabile Ma Non Tanto
3. Scherzo: Allegro Scherzando Giocoso
4. Finale: Andante Lugubre
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2 In C Minor, Op. 17, "Little Russian" -
1. Andante Sostenuto - Allegro Vivo
2. Andantino Marziale, Quasi Moderato
3. Scherzo: Allegro Molto Vivace
4. Finale (Moderato assai)
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 3 In D, Op. 29, "Polish"
1. Introduzione E Allegro
2. Alla Tedesca: Allegro Moderato E Semplice
3. Andante Elegiaco
4. Scherzo: Allegro Vivo
5. Finale (Allegro con fuoco)
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 In F Minor, Op. 36
1. Andante Sostenuto, Moderato Con Anima
2. Andantino In Modo Di Canzona
3. Scherzo: Pizzicato Ostinato, Allegro
4. Finale: Allegro Con Fuoco
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 In E Minor, Op. 64
1. Andante, Allegro Con Anima
2. Andante Cantabile, Con Alcuna Licenza
3. Valse: Allegro Moderato
4. Finale: Andante Maestoso, Allegro Vivo
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 In B Minor, Op. 74
1. Adagio, Allegro Non Troppo
2. Allegro Con Grazia
3. Allegro Molto Vivace
4. Finale: Adagio Lamentoso, Andante
“Markevitch recorded a complete cycle of Tchaikovsky symphonies with the LSO between 1962 and 1966. As time went by they were overshadowed by both the Karajan and Haitink sets and to some extent by Muti, too.
The recording was always brilliant and resonantly full with fine deep brass sonorities; now it is that bit clearer, yet the strings remain rounded and the ambient bloom is retained… Overall, these performances match
the best available, with the adrenaline running free, a fine understanding of the music and a spontaneous Tchaikovskian feeling pervading the music-making throughout. This issue certainly represents
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