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.