MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Buy through MusicWeb for £12 postage paid
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contact for details

Purchase button

Vasily KALINNIKOV (1866-1901)
Symphony No.2 in A major (1895-97) [37:52]
Intermezzo No.1 in A major (1896-97) [4:57]
Intermezzo No.2 in G major (1896-97) [4:36]
Serenade for string orchestra (1891) [9:43]
Nymphs – a symphonic picture (1889) [10:10]
USSR Symphony Orchestra/Evgeni Svetlanov
rec. Moscow 1968 (symphony); 1990 (remainder)
MELODIYA MEL CD 10 00170 [67:16]


It’s the First that’s the more performed and admired but Kalinnikov’s Second Symphony has warm-hearted and lasting virtues of its own. And in a powerful performance such as this one, recorded in Moscow in 1968, those qualities of lyrical ardour and masculine dynamism are as evident as ever. Which is not to say that the Svetlanov traversal is the last word in, say, orchestral refinement but against such minor limitations can be ranged persuasive levels of energy and good old-fashioned fossil fuel when it comes to the heart of the matter.

Kalinnikov was not one to hang around on an orchestral exposition when he could get into the second subject with alacrity – which is what happens here. Svetlanov, as much as he did in his similarly felicitous recording of the First Symphony, brings a wonderfully raw intensity to the lyric feeling and to the folkloric elements alike. Certainly the 1968 sound has a whiskery old roughness to it – maybe not inappropriately if you want to be charitable – and that suits the gruff old fugato in the first movement. Fresh exuberance is the name of the game despite the echo-y acoustic.

Svetlanov plots an astute course throughout – the rise and fall, the arc of the slow movement and its symmetry in particular. The Rimsky influence is suggestive but not made bloatedly obvious. The elegantly bucolic moments in the scherzo, with its delightful trio, are similarly verdant commodities of value. If the finale, after its brief lyrical introduction (shades, symmetrically speaking, of the opening movement’s exposition), doesn’t quite live up to expectations then there are compensations; the brash confidence of the writing brings its own rewards.

The remainder of the programme was recorded many years later in 1990 but that pervasive studio echo is still there. Svetlanov doesn’t over-inflate the Intermezzos, both written at around the time Kalinnikov wrote the Second Symphony. There’s the same eager lyricism and proud folk lilt to the writing in the First Intermezzo. In the Second the writing is rather more stentorian and perhaps less likeable as a result. The Serenade is a rather earlier work. It has a pleasant patina – but its waltz profile is rather repetitious and the Tchaikovskian elements that animate it are stifling. Finally there is Nymphs (1889). Though earlier than the Serenade this is a much better work – it’s dramatic but has a terpsichorean grace and a lusty central section that compels interest. Kalinnikov’s rhythmic rapacity is keen here and this is an unexpected pleasure.

A slightly different perspective on the Symphony comes from Neeme Järvi and the Scottish National on Chandos – broader in the opening movement and tighter in the Andante cantabile. But as for the current disc these are, as one would expect of Svetlanov, direct and powerfully energised performances, dedicated to exploring Kalinnikov’s melodic and rhythmic strengths. Those sympathetic to such things will find that this revivified Melodiya hits all the right emotive spots.

Jonathan Woolf


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



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.