The Mravinsky’s and his orchestra trip to Austria in 1960 and this recording of the last 3 Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies are well known. I am sure any of us have a number of Italian pressed box-sets with 3 records of this performance. Yes, the Mravinsky’s 1960 First Movement of the Forth Symphony is not as near interesting as the Koussevitzky’s with Boston, the Mravinsky’s 1960 First Movement of the Fifth Symphony is not the Georgiev First Movement with Vienna and the Mravinsky’s 1960 First Movement of the Sixth Symphony is not the Mravinsky’s 1956 First Movement. However, it is quite good compilation of the Tchaikovsky’s last symphony, probably one of the best out there. Also, with this set you get the absolutely untouchable and superb Third movements of the Forth Symphony, Second movement of the Fifth Symphony and last movement of the Sixth Symphony….
Anyhow, Leningrad always was kind of violently sounding orchestra. Their horns were always too hot and too presumptuous, their string group never had a tonal nobility of Vienna, Prague or Berlin, and their woodwinds always were too sunk. The Mravinsky’s RX-like conducting techniques with his almost anal-retentive ascent to minuteness in music also did not help to hide the misery of the Leningrad’s tonal deficiency. So, we always listened it ”as is” noticing for yourself: ”What do you want, this is the Leningrad Philharmonic…”
At the beginning of this year I bought a CD set of the Mravinsky/Leningrad from 1960 as a part of Dig’s “The Originals” series mastered and manufactured in Japan. “The Originals” always (well not always but frequently) were very much different CDs and they do edit the ordinal source to make it sound what form their point of view would be “musically better”. The definition of this “better” is purely a subject of their judgment and most of the time I do appreciate what they did or what they intended to do. The “The Originals” new release of Mravinsky/Leningrad 1960 trip is very much toward to the same end: they DID ALTER A LOT form what was at the original performance, still preserving the initial performance’s intention.
I would not go into the depth analyzing what they did. I would say only that it was very noble and very tasteful attempt and I encourage you to get this performance: it will not be a duplicate of what you have on analog but it will be very much altered, I would say more civilized, version. I did detect some “audio” problems at the very top where the highs sound too synthetic and too genetic as far as I concern but … who cares!
The box-set might be bought only in Japan and it is not available anywhere else. (Do not ask me why). Go to my Links Section and you’ll find in there quite useful Japanese-English translator, that after a 10 minutes of a sympatric humiliation will let you to order the music.
here is the the source to buy the box-set...
Romy the Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche