Russian National Orchestra, Mikhail Pletnev – Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony (2013) DSF DSD64

Russian National Orchestra, Mikhail Pletnev – Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony (2013)
DSF Stereo DSD64, 1 bit/2,82 MHz | Time – 59:28 minutes | 2,35 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: nativeDSDmusic | Booklet, Front Cover | ©  Pentatone Music B.V.

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Manfred is a hermaphrodite – at least, as far as the music is concerned. For although the work (dating from 1885) was indeed dubbed by its creator as a symphony, it still did not receive a number alongside Tchaikovsky’s further six contributions to the category. And thus it was – and has still to some extent remained – “draped” over a stool, as it were: isolated in Tchaikovsky’s oeuvre somewhere between the categories of the symphony and the symphonic poem. Nevertheless, Manfred is definitely based on a literary programme. And what a programme – the eponymous dramatic poem written by the “dark romantic” poet, Lord Byron. Tchaikovsky devoted himself to this and to its eponymous hero with zeal, and seemed to even somewhat transform himself into Manfred during the intensive period of work. After all, he was also suffering from inner torment. And this can be heard in the music, which appears to be full of inner conflict. Nowadays, Manfred is rarely heard in the concert hall. Perhaps due to its rather “overloaded” subject? Perhaps due to its unclear stylistic positioning? Or perhaps due to the model upon which it is based, which today is virtually unknown? Towards the end, during the redemption of Manfred, there is even an organ added to the full orchestra. (Incidentally, this was recorded separately in Berlin for the recording at hand.) An apotheosis – however, the “taste” involved here is a subject worthy of debate. And this may, in fact, be the reason…


Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893)

Manfred Symphony in B Minor, Op. 58
1. I. Lento lugubre – Moderato con moto – Andante 17:31
2. II. Vivace con spirito 10:04
3. III. Andante con moto 11:30
4. IV. Allegro con fuoco 20:22

Russian National Orchestra
Mikhail Pletnev, conductor
Alexei Bruni, concertmaster
Norbert Gembaczka, organ

Recorded: DZZ Studio 5, Moscow, April 2013


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