"The Poem of Ecstasy" (op. 54, 18:54) has always been one of my favorite Scriabin works. Of course, Scriabin eventually unfortunately went stark raving mad, before he could complete his grand opus, "The Mysterium". But the instant work is flavoured a bit like The Mysterium's Prefatory Act, (which we DO have) and I like that piece too. In any case, this is a fine rendition of "The Poem of Ecstasy," a coursing and moody tone poem.
Loeffler's "A Pagan Poem" (op. 14, 24:05) is an atmospheric, meandering orchestral tone poem that is nothing short of superb. The music incorporates just enough piano to be interesting but not overwhelming. It manifests the essential core of modern music, reminiscent of Debussy and Ravel, only a bit more "noir". I`m really crazy about this piece and it's one that I'll be playing over and over again.
The CD contains a disclaimer about this specific piece: "...portions of the original Loeffler master tapes suffer from a degree of technical problems not correctable in the [digital] re-mastering process." I just wanted to assure potential buyers that there's nothing too horrific here, which is exactly the standard of excellence that we would all expect in an "EMI Classics" release.
Alexander Glazounov's (Glazunov) "Raymonda" (Ballet Suite, op. 57, 23:47) is a more highly structured and lighthearted work than the previous two entries. It consists of 15 movements entitled thus: 1. Introduction: In the Castle; 2. Dance of the Pages and Young Girls; 3. Arrival of the Stranger 4; Entrance of Raymonda; 5. Moonlight; 6. Prelude and La Romanesca; 7. Variations; 8. Raymonda's Dream; 9. Spanish Dance; 10. Valse Fantastique; 11. Grand Adagio; 12. Raymonda's Variation; 13. Arab Boy's Dance; 14. Entrance of the Saracens, and; 15. Love Triumphant - Wedding Feast.
So, as you can see, "Raymonda" comes off much like Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite," and in fact, I was reminded of that brilliant and notable ballet suite as I listened. This piece is quite good and very appropriately presented alongside the two previous works, albeit this music is seated slightly further back in classical music time.
This is an historic recording of the Paris Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Manuel Rosenthal, recorded in November, 1952. The music runs for a total performance time of 76:46. It's conveyed in monaural and is a digitally re-mastered ADD recording. Both the orchestra and conductor present us a masterful performance and I have nothing but great things to say about this fine CD.
Finally, if you have trouble locating a copy of this CD, Arkiv Music always has it available.