Tuesday, August 6, 2013

EMI ASD 261 Tchaikovsky 5 from SIlvestri


Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 in E minor

Constantin Silvestri, conductor
Philharmonia Orchestra

Pressing:  W/G

Condition:  EX

YAX 33-14
YAX 34-12

Performance:  9/10

Sound:  6/10

Price range:  $27-145, mean $78 on popsike

Comments:  After blogging about how fantastic a deal the Constantin Silvestri EMI Icon boxed set is, I figured I'd review one of the albums which is represented on that 15 CD collection.  Silvestri recorded the last three Tchaikovsky symphonies with the Philharmonia for EMI, all of which were released in the EMI ASD series.  The jacket of each LP has a similar front with the portrait of Peter T himself, only that the background surrounding him is a different color (#4 is red, #5 is blue, #6 is green).  While I really liked the performance and sound of the digital remastering of this work, I can't say that I was a huge fan of the sound quality on the record.  It's a relatively early stereo recording and suffers from a somewhat constricted sound stage as well as some lack of clarity during the loud passages.  That's really too bad, because the Philharmonia lead by Silvestri give a strong effort in this symphony.  I have yet to identify a superb vinyl recording of the Tchaikovsky 5 (I'd imagine that Mravinsky's on Deutsche Grammophon would possibly be the one, but I've never had the chance to hear it on vinyl).  Note again that the stampers on this ASD album have the prefix YAX.


  1. It's not love at first listen for me with the CD. The Concert Classic issue SXLP30065 should have excellent sound without the breakup, so that would be a great way to check this out on vinyl. My measuring stick on LP is the Tchaik 5 from the Sheffield lab set the Moscow Sessions (Lawrence Leighton Smith conducts Moscow Philharmonic). I've yet to find a performance that I prefer over it. I am warming up to Silvestri especially during the dynamic passages as I listen. If the shipping price is right, I'll import the SXLP from England.

  2. I will admit, the 5th is my least favorite of TchIkovsky's symphonies. Maybe it is because I heard my father play it so many times while growing up. Maybe I find the main tune far too redundant . In any event, I like Monteux, Matacik , Sargent, Mravinsky , Stokowski and Dorati. I gave Silvestre a 6/6 (performance/sound scale of 1 to 10). His first movement is too somber and depressingly slow. The 2nd movement is painfully slow and depressing. He sounds like a 200 year old man conducting the 5th. I gave his interpretation of the 4th symphony a 7/7 and the 6th symphony an 8+/9+. His 6th is very good! Why there should be such difference between the 5th and 6th is anyone's guess.