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Aulos Music

Romantic Melody – Bolshoi Theatre Violin Ensemble
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)

Romance [2.42]
Christoph Willibald von GLUCK (1714-1787)

Melody from Orfeo [4.00]
Nikolai RIMSKY KORSAKOV (1844-1908)

Flight of the Bumble Bee [1.07]
Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)

Passacaglia from Harpsichord Suite No.7 – arranged Halvorsen [8.24]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)

Valse Sentimentale [2.33]
Elegy [5.09]
Manuel PONCE (1882-1948)

Estrellita [3.19]
Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)

Spanish Dance [4.40]
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)

Meditation from Thais [4.27]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)

Traumerei from Kinderszenen [3.08]
Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894)

Melody [3.30]
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)

Songs My Mother Taught Me [3.44]
Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)

Tartini – Variations on a Theme of Corelli [3.46]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) - Georges GOUNOD (1818-1893)
Ave Maria [6.17]
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)

Vocalise [7.12]
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)

Valse Triste [4.43]
Bolshoi Theatre Violin Ensemble (all arrangements by G Zaborov)
Recorded 1958-66
AULOS MUSIC AMC2-044 [68.44]


This is a fun resurrection from Aulos’s increasingly useful stable of Melodiya reissues, dusted down in DSD remastering direct from the Russian tapes. This looks like – though I can’t confirm it – two LPs’ worth of light music arrangements from three sessions recorded between 1958 and 1966. The belles of the ball are the violins of the Bolshoi Theatre and the arrangements are by G. Zaborov – and I’m sure we all feel nostalgic for the days when Soviet musicians had severe initials and not luxuriant fore and familial names.

There’s not much that I can tell you about these arrangements that you can’t guess from (a) a look at the music and (b) knowledge that these are written for an all-violin combination. What I should add is that there is a role for a piano, which supports the texture, leads melodically and sometimes has a little concertante role of its own. But in the main these are end-of-a–long-day morsels to be listened to with a glass of something and preferably not too much going on upstairs. Relaxation is the name of this particular game.

That said there are still little moments of particular pleasure. Take the middle voicings of the Gluck which sound uncannily like a choir or the big, massed Handel-Halvorsen standby, which thins down to solo piano and then solo violin and viola to contrast with the mass swell of the Bolshoi beef. Not to be overlooked either is the effective Rachmaninov Vocalise, which is well suited anyway, though the slightly schlocky Granados arrangement outstays its welcome. And so, it has to be said, does the Massenet (known to Anglophone fiddlers as The Medication from Thais). The Kreisler (here named in the booklet, as in days of yore, Tartini) lacks nimbleness.

Still, no bones broken. The DSD remastering hasn’t entirely been able to cope with a variable amount of tape hiss. A veritable slice of nostalgia, Melodiya-style, given the kiss of life from Aulos.

Jonathan Woolf


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