Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tchaikovsky - The Tempest/Der Sturm, Op. 18 & Symphony No. 2, Op. 17 (1985)


Claudio Abbado conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

From 1873, The Tempest is a program piece loosely based on Shakespeare's drama of the same name. It isn't one of my favorite symphonic works because it is too fragmented for my tastes. However, there is a great similarity to Rimsky-Korsakov's work in this piece. Because of the popularity of Tchaikovsky's other works, this piece has been pushed to the fringes of the repertory. I usually skip it when I play this CD.

Composed in 1872, Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Opus 17 was given the subtitle "Little Russian" by a music critic. Little Russia was the popular name for the Ukraine and Tchaikovsky took his material for this symphony from folk songs from that area. It is my favorite Tchaikovsky piece. It is very melodic and the orchestration is superb. In most symphonies, there is at least one movement that I could do without, but that is definitely not the case with this work. Even though I'm partial to movements 2 & 4, all four movements are strong. This recording by the CSO is a wild ride, with fast tempi and raucous playing. Since I like the piece so much, I guess I should invest in some other interpretations.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I bought this CD immediately after being introduced to the Symphony No. 2 by the San Antonio Symphony in 1989. At the time, I was working in the symphony's development office and got free tickets to the concerts. That was a great job - if only it had paid more than minimum wage.

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