Search MusicWeb Here


selling Internationaly

aSymphonies 1 and 5 £9.00 post free

See also

Symphonies 2 and 3

Vision of Judgement £9 post free

Newest Releases

Symphonies 4&5 £9 post free

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


  • Menuhin lost tapes
  • Overtures SACD
  • Krommer Flute Quartets
  • Schubert Piano Trios 2CD
  • Menuhin lost tapes

Let me tell you

David Pia

Beethoven Rattle

Highly Impressive

Matthews Shostakovich
Sheer delight!

To live with

outstanding retrospective

A superb celebration

flair, insight, controversy

outstanding singing


Sheer bliss

best thing I’ve heard this year

this really exciting release


Buy through MusicWeb from £12.00 postage paid.
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contact for details

Musicweb Purchase button

Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887)
Symphony No.1 in E flat major (1862-67) [34:52]
Symphony No.2 in B minor The Heroic (1869-76) [31:23]
U.S.S.R Symphony Orchestra/Evgeni Svetlanov
rec. Moscow 1966 (Symphony No.2) and 1983 (Symphony No.1)
MELODIYA MEL CD 10 00154 [65:55]


Svetlanov is heard in prime form in this brace of Borodin symphonies. The Third, opus posthumous, is also released in the same series and will be reviewed by me soon. Svetlanovís prime spans the decades with performances recorded in 1966 and 1983. I can guarantee that sonic considerations, and the invariable discrepancies between the newer and older studio recordings, will be of little or no account. You will I think, on the contrary, be excited by the tangy depth of utterance generated by the Soviet maestro and will enjoy the bold, brassy and often coruscating traversals on offer.

The First was recorded in 1983 and has some very prominent winds. Partly this is a result of a rather one-dimensional recording but I must say it didnít overly concern me, so alive and vibrant is the playing. Svetlanov is on fiery rhythmic form; as ever with him brass is really brassy and slightly braying, though never as much as when he directed the Bolshoi band. The vivacious and decidedly Mendelssohnian Scherzo responds well to this kind of incisive but never over-pressed playing but the highlight of the performance is surely the burnished slow movement. The autumnal and verdant phrasing Ė with middle string voicings rising and cresting with arching eloquence Ė is most distinguished. So too is the oboe principalís playing and the felicitous generosity of the music making in general. Donít overlook the nippy brass and characterful winds in the briskly accented finale.

Seventeen years earlier the same forces had recorded the Second Symphony. Svetlanov clearly relished the rugged masculinity of the writing and he gives full rein to the brusque trumpet interjections and the insistent march rhythms. Certainly there have been neater, tidier performances but not too many more exciting. Once again the slow movement has singing lyricism but also an admixtures of gaunt power and self-assertive striving. Trust Svetlanov to inject the finale with a visceral brand of ebullient high spirits; the tambourine is perfectly audible and the brass, naturally, is very much to the fore.

This is one for admirers of high octane Borodin conducting and playing; thatís pretty much a definition of Svetlanov. Those coming to the symphonies afresh may want to consider the handy but less intense National Philharmonic/Loris Tjeknavorian cycle of the three symphonies.

Jonathan Woolf


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Editor in Chief
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.