Symphony No 6 (Pathétique)
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Kirill Petrenko
Berliner Philharmoniker BPHR190261 (CD/SACD)

Recording of the Year

Kirill Petrenko’s debut recording at the BPO helm delivers thrilling results and announces a major new partnership

The Pathétique is Tchaikovsky’s musical testament. Of course it is more than just an autobiographical work. It reflects a lifelong struggle against his own destiny. – Kirill Petrenko (from an essay accompanying the release)

As statements of intent go, Kirill Petrenko’s debut recording with the Berlin Philharmonic as its new chief conductor announces itself with a thrilling blend of lyrical poetry, muscular swagger and brittle, biting, baleful emotions. Petrenko chose Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony for his first appearances at the helm of the mighty German orchestra, pairing one of the most recorded symphonies with a conductor whose appearances on disc can be numbered, regrettably, on the fingers of two hands.

It’s clear from the off that something special is in store. It’s the...