Early in my classical listening experience, I exalted Brahms' orchestration as among the best on classical music. As I go further in my journey, I still consider Brahms as a great orchestrator but Tchaikovsky have eclipsed him in my opinion.
Brahms' orchestration is noted for their skill and genius harmonies.. But oftentimes I found Brahms' orchestral works "dry" and "methodical". On the other hand, I found the melodies of Tchaikovsky' orchestral works ravishing and memorable. Tchaikovsky "sings" in my heart, while Brahms "indulges" me with his genius. Tchaikovsky also wrote a larger body of orchestral works than Brahms.
These are some of their orchestral works:
Op. 11, Serenade No. 1 in D major (1857)
Op. 16, Serenade No. 2 in A major (1859)
Op. 56a, Variations on a Theme by Haydn (1873)
Op. 68, Symphony No. 1 in C minor (1876 première)
Op. 73, Symphony No. 2 in D major (1877)
Op. 80, Academic Festival Overture, for orchestra (1880)
Op. 81, Tragic Overture, for orchestra (1880)
Op. 90, Symphony No. 3 in F major (1883)
Op. 98, Symphony No. 4 in E minor (1885)
No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13, Winter Daydreams (1866)
No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17, Little Russian (1872)
No. 3 in D major, Op. 29, Polish (1875)
No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36 (1877–1878)
Manfred Symphony, B minor, Op. 58; inspired by Byron's poem Manfred (1885)
No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64 (1888)
No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, Pathétique
Program music and commissioned pieces
Romeo and Juliet
Francesca da Rimini
Festival Overture on the Danish National Anthem
Festival Coronation March
Orchestral suites and Serenade
Orchestral Suite No. 1 in D minor, Op. 43 (1878–1879)
Orchestral Suite No. 2 in C major, Op. 53 (1883)
Orchestral Suite No. 3 in G major, Op. 55 (1884)
Orchestral Suite No. 4 in G major "Mozartiana", Op. 61 (1887)
Serenade for Strings
Tchaikovsky thought in Brahms:
""With regard to Brahms I do not quite agree with Your Highness. In the music of this master (for his mastery can of course not be denied) there is something dry and cold which repels my heart. He has very little melodic inventiveness; his musical thoughts are never spoken out to their conclusion; no sooner has one heard a suggestion of a melodic form that can be easily appreciated, than the latter has already sunk into a whirlpool of meaningless harmonic progressions and modulations. It's just as if this composer had deliberately set himself the task of being unintelligible; what he does is precisely to tease and irritate one's musical feeling. He does not wish to satisfy the latter's needs, he is afraid to speak in a language that reaches the heart. His depth isn't real—elle est voulue [French = 'it is assumed, artificial']—he seems to have decided once and for all that it is necessary to be profound, and it is true that he has a semblance of depth, but only a semblance. His profundity is empty. One can't say that Brahms's music is feeble and insignificant. His style is always elevated; he never chases after outward effects, he is never banal; everything in him is serious and noble, but the most important thing is missing—beauty.
In your opinion, who is the greater orchestrator?