Friday, September 07, 2012

Sunday Classics preview: Do I hear a waltz? (Tchaikovsky edition)


TCHAIKOVSKY: Waltz from Act II of Yevgeny Onegin, Op. 24
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ferenc Fricsay, cond. DG, recorded Sept. 10-12, 1957

by Ken

So I was looking at this DG CD reissue of the 1952 recording of Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony by the dynamic Hungarian conductor Ferenc Fricsay (1914-1963), filled out with material from a 1957 Fricsay Tchaikovsky LP. It's that filler material that I fixed on, and in particular the profusion of waltzes -- three of them standing by themselves (from the ballets Sleeping Beauty and Nutcracker and the opera Yevgeny Onegin), plus yet a fourth contained in a little suite from the ballet Swan Lake.

In a way this isn't all that remarkable, since Tchaikovsky wrote a lot of waltzes, and not just the ones in the three ballets, and among them are some of the world's most celebrated, like the four included on this CD. Still, I thought it was interesting that the planners of that 1957 Fricsay Tchaikovsky LP were so waltz-happy.

If we wanted to go really waltz-crazy there is, goodness knows, plenty of material among Tchaikovsky's output. But I thought it might be fun just to focus on the four included on this CD, even though we've surely heard the three ballet-derived waltzes in our frequent incursions into the Tchaikovsky ballets. For our preview, we're starting with the other waltz, which in fact is played by Fricsay (and others) in not-quite-its-original form. In the click-through we'll hear that original form.

[In case there's any confusion, the above image is indeed of the CD, whose cover is a miniaturized reproduction of the original LP jacket of the Tchaikovsky Fourth Symphony recording, which of course made no mention of the other Tchaikovsky material Fricsay recorded exactly five years later. (The recording dates are September 9-10 for the 1952 symphony sessions, and September 10-12 for the 1957 dance-music sessions.)]



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