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Category:    Home > Reviews > Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 & No. 6 (DTS CDs)

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5  and No. 6 (DTS CDs)


Music:  DTS 5.1:  Extras: 

Symphony No. 5           A-       B+         C         

Symphony No. 6           A         B+         C



Of all the composers from the later portion of the 1800’s, there were none quite like Tchaikovsky, who was writing some of the most amazing symphonies, demonstrating his true genius.  His abilities were immeasurable, even despite some criticisms that fell upon him because he drifted from the ‘formal’ symphony.  His arrangements were more melodic in nature to the point of being ballet-like, which would explain his works such as The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. 


Tchaikovsky had a lot of time in between his fourth symphony and his fifth and in this time he enjoyed the fortune that was coming to him from his royalties and annuity.  His fifth would be written in the summer months and was first performed in St. Petersburg, which was received well.  This time around his work became more moody and demonstrated his advancements with theme within his compositions.  Quickly we see how Andante – Allegro Con Anima and Andante Cantabile, Con Alcuna Licenza compliment each other, but at the same time have different elements, while working on similar themes.  Thematic repletion would become more common in Tchaikovsky’s work as well as a structure that incorporates different instruments or sections playing around on similar melodic lines.  This would later be seen in the works of Ravel (check out Ravel’s Bolero on SACD reviewed on this site).  Dramatic elements could be signified now by the use of certain instruments delivery of certain melodies. 


Track Listing

Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64


Andante – Allegro Con Anima

Andante Cantabile, Con Alcuna Licenza

Valse (Allegro moderato)

Finale (Andante maestoso – Allegro vivace)


Symphony in B Minor (his sixth symphony) would be the last from the great composer.  He would die only a few months after the premier of this final piece.  Ironically enough his last symphony would also be his most gloomy with darker contrasts of instruments and arrangements.  There are moments were the mood becomes sweet, only to be subdued by an omnipresent level of despair.  The 5.1 mix accurately allows for the shift in dynamics to grow and disperse through the room.  The surrounds are reserved for larger moments, while the front speakers dominate with lead instruments.  This is also the case for Symphony 5.


Track Listing

Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 (Pathetique)


Adagio – Allegro Con Troppo

Allegro Con Grazia

Allegro Molto Vivace

Finale (Adagio lamentoso – Andante)



Brought forth by DTS Entertainment for their 20-bit CD release are Symphonies 5 and 5 from Tchaikovsky, all of which are directed by Herbert Von Karajan.  Karajan is the world’s foremost conductor leading the Berlin Philharmonic, which he has been director of since 1955.  These particular recordings took place around 1972 during the Quadraphonic era for records.  Going back to the four-channel masters, DTS Entertainments was able to restore the magnetic tape and finally take those discrete channels and retranslate them for 5.1 playback.  The spatialness is finally realized with accuracy since nothing was remixed or repositioned to diverge from the original recordings design.  Although the results are amazing, there are still some limitations to these mixes.  Both contain a great level of detail and fidelity, but do not come close to the responsive level that the SACD of Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons (reviewed on this site) from Fidelis Records could. 


Liner notes are also included for both of these discs, which far outdo any CD recordings to date. With exception of SACD, there are probably no better ways to enjoy the music of Tchaikovsky’s unless going to a live performance.  Symphonies 5 and 6 are the last two from his legendary composer, with 6 being his swan song and final piece it makes it slightly more sought after and recognized.  Both are equally great in their own right and DTS Entertainment has done an exceptional job of making these important recordings available again with the ‘realized’ sound mix that they were though of back in 1972.



-   Nate Goss


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