Today’s Halloween album recommendation might be a stretch for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I have no idea how to articulate my thoughts on classical music and secondly, this piece might be a tad more subjective than other, more blatant records on this list.
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 “Pathetique” – Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra – Myung-Whun Chung. (Composed 1893/Performed 2013)
Halloween is only part of the reason October is the best month in the year. As the weather cools and the leaves start to fall everything becomes much cozier and tranquil. The cool breezes and the sounds of rustling trees are intoxicating. Any time of year that can make seasonal allergies worth the weather is aces in my book. Hell, I’d take the congestion and leaky orifices for the coolness all year around but that’s just me. Nothing goes better with a hacking cough than a hearty stew and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.6 cranked to eleven in the background.
Of all the different versions that I’ve heard of this particular work this is by far my favorite. The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra absolutely nails the many emotive changes throughout and the oboes and small amounts of brass come through clearer than any of the other versions I’ve heard. There is something truly magical about the way they bounce from folly to complete and utter despair under the leadership of Myung-Whun Chung.
Everything about this performance reflects the month of October. The build at the end of the first part gives way to the more somber displays thereafter and the lush quality of the production allows each instrument to be heard clearly. The more energetic moments always sound more urgent than calmly beautiful and every big movement contains a significant amount of sadness, darkness and despair. This particular performance feels a bit slower and more contemplative than other recorded productions. There are moments when I can picture the grotesque silhouette of the ghoulish creature lurking in the shadows pining for the blonde-haired beauty. It is a cold, dark piece of music that shouldn’t go unheard.