Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's "Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Pathétique," is one of the greatest hits of classical music, and recordings of this extremely popular work are ubiquitous, though there's little variance among them to justify the large number of releases and reissues. Yet once in a while, a version appears that shakes up conventional notions about this symphony, and makes it sound fresh and revitalized. Teodor Currentzis and his period-instruments orchestra MusicAeterna give the "Pathétique" an edgy performance that's stripped of the layers of varnish it has acquired through tradition, and except for a few lush passages, the music is surprisingly lean and muscular, even pugnacious. While the long Adagio introduction is sufficiently languid and subdued to sound familiar to most listeners, the Allegro non troppo is all fire and fury, sounding nothing like any previous recorded version and suggesting rage rather than pathos. The Allegro con grazia is played with high energy and a lilting grace, and despite the 5/4 time signature, it has the ecstatic feeling of one of Tchaikovsky's great waltzes. The third movement, a march marked Allegro molto vivace, has always been a curious part of the symphony, insofar as it seems like a false triumphant ending; to prevent this, Currentzis turns it into a truly menacing and brutal assault that's over the top in its explosiveness. This justifies the poignant Finale as a profoundly tragic outcome of the march's violence, though the orchestra's alert playing keeps the music clear and free of murkiness. This raw and unexpectedly fierce "Pathétique" is highly recommended as an alternative to most mainstream interpretations, and this recording is another feather in Currentzis' cap.