One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
Capriccio Espagnol Op. 34 (1887) [15:14]
Le Coq d'Or suite (1908) [25:27]
Russian Easter Festival Overture Op. 36 (1887) [15:09]
Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887)

Polovtsian Dances (1887) [11:16]
London Symphony Orchestra Chorus
London Symphony Orchestra/Antal Dorati
rec. Walthamstow Town Hall, 4 July 1956 (Dances); 5 July 1956 (Coq); 9 June 1959 (Capriccio, Overture). ADD
SACD reviewed in CD mode
Originally issued on LPs SR90122; SR90265


Nothing is out of place here. The mix makes for a perfect fit - almost too predictable as a collection. The accent is Russian - firmly rooted in display and melody. The catalogues are full of technical display pieces often for violin. Without melodic interest they are arid and unmemorable except to the player and listeners who are fellow players. Both Rimsky and Borodin blend the merely breathtaking with succulent lyrical material.

The Capriccio ranges from gaudy-rowdy, with plenty of foreground instrumental detail, to the trembling poetry of the Variazioni section; unusually Mercury track the Capriccio into five segments. Dorati does not stint on the colour and solos are assertive - try the violin in Scena e canto gitano (tr. 4). He sets a brisk pace for King Dodon in his Palace (the first movement of the suite from Le Coq d'Or) and I thought he was a little too brisk and matter of fact in the Queen Shemakha movement; no complaints though about the gorgeous cor anglais solo. Overall I prefer Ormandy's version on Sony though technically it does not sound as good. Dorati's Russian Easter Festival is sculpted, vivid and gorgeous (try 4.29 for enthralling magic). Finally we leave Rimsky and move to Borodin. The orchestra is joined by the LSO Chorus for the Polovtsian Dances. The piquant rhythmic material receives caring attention (6.32) adding a buoyancy to the well loved big tunes. These are again taken rather quickly (8:02) but the performance is exultant. The chorus sing in English.

The recording remains spectacular in that sensationally close-up Mercury way. The presentation is good and the detailed sound is unfailingly engaging.

Rob Barnett

Return to 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.