Nikolay Andreyevich RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
Suite from The Snow Maiden (1880-81) [12.34] (Introduction [4.46]; Dance of the Birds [2.45]; Cortege [1.25]; Dance of the Clowns [3.38])
Sadko - Musical picture, Op. 5 (1869, rev. 1892) [10.53]
Suite from Mlada (1889-90) [18.24] (Introduction [3.19]; Redowa [3.57]; Lithuanian Dance [2.01]; Indian Dance [4.14]; Cortege [4.53])
Suite from Le Coq d'or (1907) [28.13] (King Dodon in his Palace [10.10]; King Dodon on the Battlefield [5.42]; King Dodon with Queen Shemakhan [6.32]; Marriage Feast and Lamentable End of King Dodon [5.51])
Seattle Symphony/Gerard Schwarz
rec. 9, 18, 30 March, 19 April 2011, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, Washington, USA.DDD
NAXOS 8.572787 [70.04]
An excellent release from Naxos, this disc presents three orchestral operatic suites, from The Snow Maiden,Mlada and Le Coq d'or, and the “Musical Picture”, Sadko. Gerard Schwarz’s version of Sheherazade, also for Naxos, and again with the Seattle Symphony, received critical acclaim. This disc, likewise, gives the impression of a conductor who is fully in sympathy with the music and who brings out the best, both in the works performed, and from this really rather good orchestra.
The disc opens with the Suite from The Snow Maiden, and one is immediately struck by Schwarz’s sensitivity to orchestral colour. The Seattle Symphony respond well to him, the strings offering a pleasing clarity, with the whole section playing every note - not as common as one might think or hope! The trumpets are buoyant, yet without the brashness that they can all too often bring - listen, in this respect, to the two Corteges, in the Suite from The Snow Maiden and the Suite from Mlada.
The Dance of the Clowns is taken at a sensible tempo - not ‘hyped up’ to make it sensationalist as is so often the case. It nevertheless retains a wonderful sense of exuberance and energy. It is also good, in the same movement, to hear the tambourine actually in time with the wind, instead of a demisemiquaver behind: a common failing in The Dance of the Clowns.
There is also an impressive clarity in the timps, especially in the Cortege from the Suite from Mlada, each individual note being audible. The disc is accompanied by good booklet notes, albeit the presentation is rather cramped, as with all Naxos notes. My only criticism is that the recorded sound could do with a little more warmth, which would enhance the orchestral playing still further. Nevertheless, these are extremely fine performances indeed.
These are extremely fine performances indeed.
see also review by Rob Maynard
Naxos Schwarz Rimsky-Korsakov series
Sheherazade - Reinhart Ledeniov
Capriccio Maynard Zychowicz
Snow Maiden Maynard