The composers included
in this discography are those who wrote symphonies that have been issued on
CDs and LPs who were born in Russia or in 11 other nations that once were part
of the Soviet Union (Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) but not including
Estonia. Latvia and Lithuania. The composers of the latter 3 nations will be
found in my Discography of Finnish and Baltic Symphonies.
The composers are listed alphabetically and a composer index is placed first
so the reader can immediately go via links to any particular composer.
As in the previous discographies
in this series, no attempt has been made to list every release of every recording
of each work. There have just been too many reissues, especially from the major
labels, to make this feasible for many recordings. Instead, what are listed
are the most current issue the author has located and the earliest release (if
any on LP or CD) of that particular recording. In general, multi-disc compendium
releases are omitted unless they contain a unique recording or the sole modern
reissue of a previously released performance.
The entry for each composer
consists of two sections. First there is a compact biographical paragraph that
notes some essential information such as place of birth, higher musical education
(including schools and prominent teachers), subsequent musical careers in addition
to composing and details of other symphonies that have not been recorded. Compositional
styles are not discussed in these paragraphs and readers are referred to the
bibliography where various reference books that cover this subject are listed.
The second part of each composer entry consists of lists of his or her symphonies
that have been recorded and the various recordings of each work. Symphony is
defined here as any work the composer has designated as such in its title including
works called "sinfonia" or "sinfonietta." The works can
be for full orchestra, chamber orchestra, strings, winds, brass or chorus and
orchestra. For every symphony that has them, the opus number, key signature
and title are noted and the year of composition or première (if known)
is stated for all. The entries of the symphonies that have had multiple recordings
are listed alphabetically by the conductor's name. Each listing of a recording
consists of the following components: (1) Performers (in this order if all are
involved - conductor, soloists, choral group, orchestra), (2) Other works on
the recording. (3) Label and catalogue number and year of issue and (4) If the
recording is a reissue, the original LP or CD release and its year of issue.
Please note that the performers listed are for the entry work and not necessarily
for the works that it is coupled with. Also, in most instances when an entry
work is included in a large collection (especially if most of the other works
are not related to the discography's subject) the list of couplings is not given
but replaced by the title of the collection.
The Symphony came late to
Russia. Mikhail Glinka made a couple of efforts that were stillborn so the onset
of Russian symphonism falls on the shoulders of Anton Rubinstein whose Symphonies
have little suggestion of any Russianess. The true beginnings, however, lie
with Mily Balakirev and his acolytes, Alexander Borodin and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,
who were declared nationalists, as well as with Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, despite
his European leanings, whose Symphonies unmistakenly speak with a true Russian
accent. In their wake came a small legion of composers, from Alexander Glazunov
to Nikolai Miaskovsky, who espoused the Russian symphonic cause and wrote Symphonies
in a national style well into the middle of the 20th century. Mainly as a result
of the Russian Revolution and the ensuing Civil War, a number of the leading
Russian composers, such as Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Rachmaninov and Sergei Prokofiev
(temporarily) went into exile, but others, such as Reinhold Glière and
Nikolai Miaskovsky, would pass the torch of symphonic writing by teaching several
generations of budding composers. In the 1920's there was an early flowering
of modernistic music as represented by composers such as Alexander Mosolov and
Nikolai Roslavetz but this faded rather quickly and the Soviet Union came to
represent musical conservatism at it its most rigid for the next half century.
Modernism would only rear its head again in this Communist nation's dying years.
Positively, however, the cultural authorities sent composers (willingly or unwillingly)
to teach musical professionalism to the various nationalities across the vast
Soviet Union who would blend this new knowledge with their own musical heritage.
Thus, as can be seen in the pages that follow, even if the Symphony was a latecomer
to the areas under discussion, lost time has certainly been made up for. The
composers whose numerous recorded Symphonies are documented below range from
some of the world's major composers such as Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev
and Shostakovich to some whose existence is known to the outside world only
because the Soviet Melodiya record company committed one or more of their works
to long playing records.
I have received a lot of
help in preparing this work. As in my previous Discographies, Rob Barnett of
MusicWeb International helped eliminate a lot of errors by proofreading the
entire work. I am very grateful to him as well as to MusicWeb International's
founder and webmaster Len Mullenger who has kindly hosted and helped me prepare
my Discographies for the l website and has patiently tutored me on the use of
a software program that has made it easier for me get my work ready for the
internet. For this particular Discography, I received help from David Canfield,
Robert Gazizov.and Shirley Vrieseling of Brilliant Classics.
After this work first appeared
online, a number of knowledgeable viewers have kindly sent me additional information
that I have incorporated into the Discography. They are: Terry Hopton, Pier
Giogio Leone, Onno van Rijen, Holger Sambale, Kyle Swan, Le Than-Tam and Daniel
As the names of practically all composers in this discography are originally
written in different alphabets (Cyrillic, Armenian, Georgian, etc.) they often
appear transliterated differently in various sources. I have used the most commonly
recognized versions such as Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, etc. In some cases, where
known, I will also indicate a transliteration preferred in the newly independent
former Soviet Republics such as Ukraine, Belarus and Azerbaijan.
(2) For the sake of clarity
and convenience, all LPs from the Soviet Union's record manufacturing monopoly
are indicated by the label name "Melodiya" although this designation
did not come into use until c. 1964.
(3) All recordings listed are CDs unless specifically designated as LPs.
Finally, as this book is published online it can always be a work in progress
as the author has the ability to amend the work when necessary with very little
difficulty. A work of this type is bound to contain errors and omissions as
so much material has been gathered from so many diverse sources. Therefore,
I ask anyone who reads this book and finds such errors or omissions to please
let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be very grateful indeed.
INDEX (Click on the link to go to the entry for each composer)
Northern Flowers CD Catalogue http://www.nflowers.ru/engl/cds.html
Onno van Rijen's Soviet
Composers Page http://home.wanadoo.nl/ovar/sovcom.htm
Parnassus Classical LP Vinyl
Records and CDs http://www.parnassusrecords.com/old_site/oldcatalogs.htm
Sterling Records http://www.sterlingcd.com/
COMPOSER AND CONDUCTOR
Many contemporary composers have their own websites and others can be
found on the websites of their publishers. There are also websites for
earlier composers and conductors that are maintained by societies that
promote their music and recordings. These can be found by typing the
composer's name into any search engine