No other work in Tchaikovsky’s symphonic oeuvre contains such a wealth of authentic folksong as Tchaikovsky’s Second Symphony. The work’s unofficial title, ‘Little Russian Symphony,’ is indeed attributable to the fact that so many Ukrainian folksongs are employed in it.
The Russian National Orchestra’s recording of the Second does true
justice to the work’s extraordinary vitality. Long regarded as “a living symbol of the best in Russian art,” the orchestra’s Tchaikovsky cycle on PentaTone has been widely acclaimed. As the Evening Standard wrote following the RNO’s debut in London, “They played with such captivating beauty that the audience gave an involuntary sigh of pleasure.”