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Compilation: Nationalistic Trends During The Romantic Era
Mikhail GLINKA (1804-1857)

Overture: Ruslan and Ludmilla (1837-42)
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)

Hungarian Dances Nos. 1, 5 and 6 (1873)
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)

Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor (1829-30)
Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884)

The Moldau from ‘Ma Vlast’ (1972-9)
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)

Finlandia (1899 rev. 1900)
Tamara Kerzerov (piano)
Russian Federal Orchestra/Vakhtang Jordania
no recording dates or locations given
ANGELOK 1 CD-7751 [68:07]


The title of the disc is rather didactic – it sounds like an earnest module of a Workers Education Class – but in fact it resembles nothing less than one of those Popular orchestral concerts where the audience gets to vote to hear either Ruslan and Ludmilla or Vltava. Actually we have them both here so no choosing is necessary. Whatever the alleged prop this is a good old-fashioned disc that, alas, won’t really be of very much interest except for the pianism of Tamara Kerzerov, born in Uruguay, raised in Argentina and who studied there with Hubert Brandenburg. Her performance of the Chopin F minor Concerto is appealing. The playing is straightforward, in the best sense, and poetic, and sensitive to nuance. Her technique is strong and tonally she’s well balanced (rather more than can be said for the recording). She’s rather too far forward and this tends to diffuse the orchestral counter-themes and to make the accompaniment too distant. Nevertheless though she’s too far forward to convey the full intimacy of the slow movement she shows herself to be a musician of calibre and romantic instinct.

One of the reasons this must be a "Friends and Admirers" disc is the programme. There sounds like a splice in one of the Brahms Hungarian Dances (No.1 at 2.58 but I could be wrong) and Finlandia tends to bring out those old raucous Russian brass genes. Vltava moves slowly here, Vakhtang Jordania stressing the lyrical at the expense of the visceral. There’s just not enough sheer mass around here and the conclusion is ill-paced – but I liked the bass line pointing in the Rapids. What also does for this disc is the recording – rather resonant and boomy, with the percussion sounding especially badly focused. I can’t hear an audience and the location isn’t specified. It could be a broadcast for all I know but obviously I can’t advance a recommendation – except for those who might want to listen to Kerzerov.

Jonathan Woolf

See also review by Ian Lace who was more favourably disposed towards this disc

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