Tchaikovsky Symphony no. 6 in B minor

Budapest Festival Orchestra

(15 press reviews)
Original Recording Format: DSD 64
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When Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky stepped onto the stage in Saint Petersburg on 28 October 1893 to introduce his Sixth Symphony to the public, he was received with a roar of applause. Less than an hour later the astonished audience was left dumbfounded. How could a symphony begin so softly and end even softer? And what about the second movement, with its undanceable waltz, and the third one with its unstoppable march? Nine days after the premiere, Tchaikovsky died in a city ravaged by cholera. Tchaikovsky himself considered the symphony to be the best he had ever written, and with it he said farewell to music, indeed to life itself. Rumours have never ceased to circulate about this unexpected end. For example, according to a controversial theory of the Russian musicologist Alexandra Orlova, the composer was forced to commit suicide. A secret council of honour is said to have sentenced Tchaikovsky thus because of a scandalous relationship with his young nephew; that he was reported to have died of cholera was no more than a pretence to conceal the true course of events. This theory has since been refuted. When the composer drunk a glass of unboiled water in the company of his brother Modest and nephew Vladimir Davidov, who warned him of the dangers, he replied “I am not afraid of cholera.” Did he know what he was doing? Is this the import of the dark, deathly sound of the menacing bassoons at the beginning of the symphony? Was the Pathétique indeed his message of farewell? And especially the final movement, Adagio, with its downward pull, in which all that holds on to life is swallowed up as if by a morass? Depressions overshadowed not only Tchaikovsky’s final years, but much of his life as well. Among the reasons for this was his homosexuality. In his younger years he was very nearly driven to suicide by an unhappy marriage, which was dissolved on medical advice. In his last symphony, the tragedy of the composer’s life seems to be captured in music.


Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Symphony no. 6 in B minor - Adagio, Allegronon troppo
Symphony no. 6 in B minor - Allegro con grazia
Symphony no. 6 in B minor - Allegro molto vivace
Symphony no. 6 in B minor - Adagio Lamentoso
Prince Igor, Choral Dance no. 17

Total time: 00:58:02

Additional information





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Digital Converters

Grimm AD

Editing Software


Mastering Engineer

The recording was originally digitized using the Grimm AD1, which operates at DSD64. The original session tracks were edited and rebalanced (which meant going through the mixer)  in the only available format for that purpose; the Pyramix 352.8KHz/24bit PCM (DXD). Prior to the advent of direct digital delivery, the next step in the production process from 352.8KHz/24bit PCM would be the DSD64 edited master for SACD production. What we have done now is also make a direct conversion to DSD128 and DSD256 from that original DXD edited master, without going through any interim processing steps. 

Those DXD to DSD conversions are not up-samplings, as they would be going from one PCM sampling rate to another, for they are different encoding systems. PCM is a digital value sample based system, and DSD is a digital bit density modulated system. Conversion from any PCM sample rate to any DSD bit rate system is a remodulation, not an up-sampling.

We feel there is an audio advantage to this process in using the original files so we give you the choice and you can decide.

Jared Sacks

Mastering Room

B&W 803


Bruel & Kyaer, Schoeps

Mixing Board

Rens Heijnis custom made


The DXD timeline was sourced to create the DSD128 and DSD256 files using the DXDdirectDSD process.



Original Recording Format


Hein Dekker

Recording Engineer

Hein Dekker, Jared Sacks

Recording location

Budapest Hungary

Recording Software


Recording Type & Bit Rate


Release DateOctober 7, 2016

Press reviews

Luister [9] 5 out of 5

Fijn, soepel, elegant spel dat de luisteraar langdurig aan zich verplicht. (…) als het echt tederzacht moet zijn is Fischer op zijn best. (…)

Klassieke Zaken

De vaak hinkende wals klinkt als de elegantste ballerina en de duisternis van het laatste deel lijkt recht uit Tsjaikovski’s ziel op te stijgen.

Classica 4 out of 5

Habitée de bout en bout pare une tension narrative, cette Symphonie ets d’une allure racée. (…) L’excellente alto allemande Gerhild Romberger est impeccablement accompagnée dans sa musique nocturne. (…)


(…) merkwürdig zivilisiert und klangschön (…)

AudioReview Italia

Immagine sonora ariosa, timbro correttodi archi e fiati, presenza mai inopportunadelle percussioni, ma ancora più impor-tante c’è da segnalare l’emissione coe-rente che offre un respiro naturale ad unaregistrazione effettuata nel gennaio del2014 nel Palazzo delle Arti di Budapestutilizzando una catena in DSD con mac-chine Grimm Audio, Pyramix Editing eMerging Technologies.


(…) wieder auf Topniveau spielenden Budapest Festival Orchestra (…) Er (Fischer) legt einen sanften Schleier der Melancholie und das Elegischen über die vielen dramatischen Ausbrüche dieser letzten Arbeit Tschaikowskys (…)


“The wonderful soundstage capabilities of the e32 were well demonstrated with the 2014 recording of Tchaikovsky: Symphony NO. 6 performed by Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Roon indicated that this DSD64 recording had a dynamic range of 22. And sure enough, be prepared to turn the volume up to fully experience this fine recording. The exaSound e32 was capable of reproducing a richly layered soundstage with a tube-like bloom and dimensionality. The e32 was very capable of resolving low level information with an ultra-quiet background.”

Bob Attiyeh of Yarlung Records

We haven’t yet had the opportunity to record a Tchaikovsky symphony at Yarlung Records, so we are enjoying those made by friends. Jared Sacks’ new release of Tchaikovsky’s massive Symphony No. 6, on Channel Classics and NativeDSD rewards at so many levels. Conductor Iván Fischer leads the Budapest Festival Orchestra in what starts out as an overly polite Adagio first movement. We understand Fischer’s choice by the time the piece evolves into the brief moments of light in the second movement. By the elemental and heartbreaking Adagio lamentoso final movement, all of Fischer’s choices make sense, and the symphony reaches an open-ended conclusion, reflecting Tchaikovsky’s very real dilemma as he reached the end of his life. Throughout, Jared’s recording captures the nuances of Fischer’s interpretation in clear and dramatic precision and beauty.

The Herald

There has been so much high quality Tchaikovsky performance around, in concert and on disc, that it’s almost a shame to be picky. But if you know the work of conductor Ivan Fischer and his thoroughbred Budapest Festival Orchestra, you will not be surprised to learn that this team is in a league of its own (…) This is a great performance (…) shaping of dynamics as you will seldom hear.

Diapason 5 stars

(…) Fisher pense musique et non effet. (…)

While there are many recordings of the work, few can possibly sound as good and feel as right as the new hybrid SACD from Channel Classics (…) discover the deeply seductive and energizing nature of Fischer’s performance (…)

The Times

The sheer natural musicality of Fischer’s Budapest players is, as always, refreshing (…) 5 out of 5

From the first few bars of this breathtakingly poised and lucid account of Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony one is immediately struck by the sheer beauty of the sound that perfectly captures the carefully graded dynamics of the refined Budapest strings (…). It is certainly a recording that stands out even amongst the huge recorded archive available on disc. The marvellously realistic and impeccably balanced sound quality of Jared Sack’s 5.0 multi-channel DSD recording on this SACD can be taken for granted, and while the sonic allure of this SACD will be enough for many, when combined with the cool fluency and unforced naturalness of Fischer’s interpretation it is worth consideration even by those who have multiple version of this work.

De Gelderlander 5 out of 5

Zoveelste schot in de roos van maestro Fischer (…) Het orkest excelleert in nuances en emotie. (…) Geen wonder dat de luisteraar helemaal meegesleept wordt. Je hoort de vertrouwde klanken als het ware met nieuwe oren. Zo verbluffend is het eindresultaat.

Presto Classical

(…) he’s brought to light elements of this work, in particular textural details, that I’d never heard before. (…) intelligently-paced and emotionally powerful Tchaikovsky (…)


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