Alexander Sladkovsky: “Tchaikovsky's recordings should become not only our family joy”

The maestro and the State Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan are recording all Tchaikovsky's symphonies

These days, the Saydashev State Great Concert Hall is recording all the concerts of Tchaikovsky. The initiator of the project is artistic director and chief conductor of the Tatarstan symphony orchestra Alexander Sladkovsky. Together with the orchestra, the starts of Russian music are also participating in the recordings as soloists.

Hot summer 2016

The first precedent, when Alexander Sladkovsky decided on a risky project not only for the regional but also for many orchestras with a world name, happened in the summer of 2016. Then the State Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan and the maestro were recording together with Melodiya company all symphonies of Dmitri Shostakovich. However, even if rated objectively, in recent years the Tatarstan State Symphony Orchestra has firmly entered the top Russian orchestras and outstripped the regional orchestra.

It was difficult to record in the summer of 2016: the roof of the concert hall was heated by the intense heat and it was stuffy in the room. But to turn the air conditioning was not allowed, even a slight noise that the audience's ear does not perceive would affect the quality of the recording.

The project turned out to be super successful. The Arts Desk in its rating of classic discs in 2018 placed “Shostakovich: All Symphonies” performed by the Tatarstan Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Sladkovsky on the first position.

Melodiya company for the first time this year has published a list of the best-selling discs. Among them, one of the top places is occupied by the boxed set “Shostakovich: All Symphonies”. Here is the opinion of one of the English reviewers about these recordings: “This new cycle can be judged all round as one of the best performed, best interpreted and best recorded available and can as such be highly recommended.”

Besides, the recording of the Tatarstan Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Sladkovsky were nominated for one of the world's most prestigious music awards in the areas of recording ICMA.

Now Sony Classical

Alexander Sladkovsky's new project is dedicated to the 180th anniversary of the birth of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, which the world will celebrate next year. This time, six numbered symphonies of the composer and the Manfred Symphony will be released on the Sony Classical label. Also, three piano concerts, violin concerto, Variations on a Rococo Theme, Concert fantasy.

The recording is going for two weeks in the Saydashev State Great Concert Hall. The work is to be completed on July 27, but just in case the maestro booked extra two days — maybe something they will have to “clean up”.

As Alexander Sladkovsky told Realnoe Vremya, the choice of soloists was his prerogative, as well as the idea to record Tchaikovsky's works. The continuation of such audio recording of the orchestra after the success of recording Shostakovich's symphonies is quite logical. “Sony Classlcal recorded all great conductors, all great orchestras. Now our record will be released under this label, it will be a very significant new contact. This label has become interested in us and we have entered into a partnership. We have not worked with such a serious label yet,” Alexander Sladkovsky explained to the newspaper.

The soloists are Maksim Mogilevsky, Boris Andrianov, Boris Berezovsky, Pavel Milyukov, Miroslav Kultyshev, Alexander Malofeev — all of them need no introduction.

“I am having a lot of projects, I hope I will have enough time for everything”

During the work on the recording of Tchaikovsky's works, Alexander Sladkovsky took a break for just a couple of days and flew to Bonn. Here he conducted the orchestra of the Russian-German academy of music, which is headed by Valery Gergiev. The concert was part of the Russian-German forum, which was attended by the foreign ministers of Russia and Germany.

“This is not my first year working with this team, we had a day and a half of rehearsals and a concert consisting of music by Russian and German composers. Our singers — winners of the last competition named after Tchaikovsky — participated,” said Alexander Sladkovsky.

Since Bonn is the birthplace of Beethoven, who is about to turn 250 years old, the maestro spoke about the records of this great German composer. “I want to record only Beethoven's symphonies,” says the maestro. However, the plans also include Gustav Mahler, Sladkovsky now is one of the most exact and fine interpreters of this composer.

According to the maestro, now that the Tatarstan Symphonic Orchestra is being in fantastic shape, it is necessary to record, they should remain in history. “Who can record such a cycle in two weeks? We can, then we should do it while we have enthusiasm. The weather this year promotes us, three years ago the heat was wild, the roof was heated, and it was hard to breathe in the hall,” Sladkovsky said.

In the hall air conditioning is off, even in the lobby people speak in a whisper. The maestro finishes each phrase, and the recording itself is carried out in small fragments, which will then be brought together.

Sladkovsky believes that the boxed set with the recording of Tchaikovsky's works will be ready in April next year, and the presentation will be held in May. It will be held in Kazan, Moscow and St. Petersburg, the negotiations are underway with the top Western halls, which will also present the work of the orchestra and Maestro Sladkovsky.

“These records should be not only our quiet family joy, it is a world event, and it should be very well presented abroad,” says the maestro.

By Tatyana Mamaeva. Photo courtesy by the press service of Tatarstan State Symphony Orchestra

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