Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos. 1-6

Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos. 1-6

Herbert von Karajan was a fine and loyal champion of Tchaikovsky’s final three symphonies, but the 20th-century Austrian conductor recorded his first three only once (in 1978 and 1979). Originally released in 2016 and remastered in Spatial Audio in 2021, this album brings all six symphonies together—and they sound terrific, the original stereo picture enhanced rather than reimagined. Karajan’s way with the composer took a fairly central path between the cool and the overheated, and the works still pack quite a punch, especially the final three, which are among their finest recordings. The superb performance of Symphony No. 2 is also a highlight. Throughout, the great Berlin Philharmonic sounds magnificent, strings silky, winds sinuous, and brass suitably robust, with an impressive rhythmic bite.

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