This is a very mixed bargain price collection which because of its variety
will focus you more on the music than on the artists. The common artists
are Fedoseyev (Adagio and Elegy) who has a cycle of the Glazunov symphonies
to his name and the Moscow RTVSO who appear on all but The Forest track.
Tcherkasov and Fedoseyev are both natives of Leningrad as also was Glazunov.
The first track is the shortest at 4:37 and the longest is the last at almost
20 minutes. The Grand Adagio is rather intense but ultimately anonymous:
polished and professionally balletic in the grand manner but not desperately
interesting. The Concert Waltz is much more interesting being frequently
rather Tchaikovskian. The whole thing is redolent of grand Edwardian hotels,
pot plants, palms, tall sylph-like women in nodding feathered hats, a perpetual
charming round of chatter and superficial romance. There is none of the complex
psychological overlay that Prokofiev brought to the waltz years later. The
notes mention the influence of Brahms and Dvorák but I could catch
nothing of their voices just the romantic dizzy absorption of the dance.
The Symphonic Elegy is an early work which I have never heard before.
It is roughly contemporaneous with the first symphony. I wonder who the hero
was. This is a work which begins in subdued charcoal lights with a dignified
melody with a distinct ecclesiastical tone. This relaxes at 6:22 into a
heart-easing tune rising to a rolling passionate climax at 7:05 and great
calling brass at 7:22. From 9:03 the massed strings seem to call up memories
of triumphant church bells..
The Forest is conducted by Dudarova (the only non-Leningrader) who
was born in Baku. It is a romantically glistening work, rather rambling as
befits a fantasy it certainly shows how much Glazunov had learnt from
Rimsky-Korsakov. This forest is one of eerie magic (not the romantic Wunderhorn
fantasy woods of Raff and Mendelssohn) but one populated by clarinet trills,
a great trombone choir, troll dances and a storm. Mind you Glazunovs
storms have none of the elemental power of Tapiola (Sibelius) or even
November Woods (Bax). In truth there were a few moments when I thought
the tone-pictures were more marine than sylvan. While Glazunov had it in
him to create grandeur (Symphony No. 8) there is no terror but lyrical release
The whole package is well designed and documented with precise dates and
venue (Concert Hall of Moscow Radio) of recording and reasonably informative
anonymous notes (English only). What a pity about the short playing time.
I recall a rather good Finnish Fantasy from the days of EMI-Melodiya LPs.
Surely that recording was available. Technically the sound is not outstanding
- perfectly respectable - having been Sonic Solutions No-Noised. Worth exploring.
It would have scored higher if the timing had been more generous. If you
have a spare five pounds you will make some real discoveries here; notably
the last two tracks.