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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)
SMETANA (1824-1884) The Moldau from ‘Ma Vlast’ (1972-9) 
(1865-1957) Finlandia (1899 rev. 1900)

Tamara Kerzerov (piano) Russian Federal Orchestra/Vakhtang Jordiana no recording dates or locations given
ANGELOK 1 CD-7751 [68:07]


Nationalistic trends during the Romantic Era (roughly speaking 1820-1920) developed alongside continuing upheavals and revolutions in Europe. These notably included the insurrections of 1848 continuing after the French Revolution into the closing decade of the 19th century. The 19th century saw the unification of Italy and Germany from a clutch of independent states. The work of composers such as Wagner in Germany, Verdi in Italy, Dvořák in Bohemia and Grieg in Norway fuelled these nationalistic trends. This is the theme of this album.

It is an unashamedly popular compilation. The sparse notes give no indication of when these performances were recorded, whether they were live or studio-made. We are told that the Russian Federal Orchestra was formed in 1993, so we may deduce that they are fairly recent. 

There is no denying the energy of nationalistic fervour and the feeling of spontaneity that comes across in these performances - which makes me suspect that these are live performances - possibly broadcasts? Sometimes the performances are somewhat idiosyncratic and a little wayward but this adds to their appeal. The compilation kicks off with a sizzling Glinka, moves on to energetic and joyfully exhilarating Hungarian Dances.  But the prize goes to a very winsome performance of Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto with Jordania giving most sympathetic support to Tamara Kerzerov’s romantic, poetic reading which is thoughtfully punctuated and accented and beautifully phrased.  Jordania captures the sparkle, swirl and turbulence of Smetana’s The Moldau very well and finally Sibelius’s Finlandia begins in really snarling defiance before erupting in its celebrated triumphant hymn to freedom

Generally the sound is splendid only marred by an occasional shrillness and a slight wiry edge to the strings.

Stirring performances of repertory favourites by a crack Russian orchestra.


Ian Lace

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