One of the most grown-up review sites around

2021
54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements



TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Deaconoff; Stockhausen


Live at the Clifton Festival


Choir at Clifton Cathedral

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage



Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from
 

Mily BALAKIREV (1837-1910)
Symphony No.1 in C major (1864-97) [40:07]
Symphonic Poem: Russia (1863) [13:38]
Symphonic Poem: Tamara (1867) [21:06]
USSR State Symphony Orchestra/Evgeni Svetlanov
rec. stereo, Moscow, 1974 (Symphony); 1978 (Symphonic Poems). ADD
ALTO ALC1331 [75:09]

Alto do well to maintain their Russian connection to a catalogue that was the premium mainstay of the 1970s and 1980s. You could probe back further and look for recordings of these works by Gauk and Golovanov. If you could find them you would sacrifice stereo and good modern recording techniques adopted by sound engineers, Yuri Kokzhayan, S Pazukhin and E Shakhnazaryan working during the days of Alexei Kosygin.

Svetlanov takes all three works by the scruff of the neck and bends them to his benevolent will. The Symphony's first movement involves a nicely balanced interplay of tension, relaxation, imperial triumphalism and shudderingly driven urgency; the latter returns in a wildly boiling cauldron for the finale. The Scherzo quickly accelerates through brisk delight to Polovtsian-style abandon and then yielding and swelling poetry. The ideas - and they're good - keep coming. Take the lazily unfolding yet mesmerising clarinet tune in the big controlled Andante. This is the lonely beauty of the steppe personified. The finale raps along full of lively rhythmic invention, happiness and excitement. It is touched with many moments redolent of the best of Borodin and Rimsky-Korsakov. The sound is warm and the orchestra has that authentic Russian 'zing' and just a hint of Soviet warble. Russia is presented in cocooned sound with every woodwind strand clear. As music it is agreeably discursive - a rhapsody without the narrative keystoned arch of Tamara. Tamara tells a murderous supernatural story of seduction and death as recounted by Mikhail Lermontov. Svetlanov absorbingly colours in the detail with a master's hand adept at these dark Rimskian pages. As an illustration, listen to the marbling of the oily slip-sliding violins at 13:54.

If you must have more modern sound - not that this sounds superannuated or feeble in any way - then try for Svetlanov's re-recording for Hyperion (CDD22030) or Sinaisky's for Chandos.

There was a time when all of the Svetlanov Soviet era Balakirevs could be had on BMG or Svet but those sets have long gone the way of all flesh. This particular combination of three works was reviewed here when it was issued on Regis in 2003. It was welcome then and it is welcome now. Alto's generously detailed three page liner-note is by the excellent James Murray.

Svetlanov has the intoxicating measure of these classic works of Russian nationalism - a fine single disc collection.

Rob Barnett

 

 



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

 

Recordings of the Month

December


Conner Riddle Songs


Rodzinski Sibelius


Of Innocence and Experience

November


Symphonies 1, 2, 3

 

October


Aho Symphony 5


Dowland - A Fancy


MÄNTYJÄRVI - Choral


Rachmaninov_ Babayan