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Top Customer Reviews
While the playing is great, there's something wrong here with the multichannel mix. I read a review that indicated that the engineers recording this session may have multimiked the hall too aggressively and then tried to make up for it by adding artificial reverb in the mix. I'm not an engineer, but there is a compressed and somewhat flat sound to the recording, even in SACD. I also have an XRCD version of Fritz Reiner's 40 plus year old recording of this piece, which sounds much more dynamic and new.
So while Gergiev is an awesome conductor, this may not be the best version of this particular work.
This is deeply disappointing given the marvelous previous recordings of Scriabin, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky.
More satisfying recordings which capture marvelous performances and better sound would be Chicago/Reiner and Mehta/LAPO.
With his unleashed, unpredictable tempi and heavy, unsubtle accents, and not helped by too much artificial reverberation, Valery Gergiev, whom we have heard more inspired than here, opts for an extremely rough, no-nonsense re-telling of Rimsky's ever-popular score. He seems to deny his Sheherazade every ounce of charm, poetry and sensuality, portraying a woman more likely to have spent some time in a brutal Chechnian camp than one who wallowed in the refined colours and perfumes of the Bagdad fantasized by Rimsky-Korsakov. Moreover, Gergiev doesn't avoid the pitfall of highlighting too many details of the orchestration - and true, at times he reveals unheard passages, as in the third movement - at the cost of losing grip of the overall structure. The frenzied tempo in which he attacks the last movement not only puts his orchestra in trouble, it also makes him miss the big final climax.
The orchestra's solos, the first violin from concert master Sergei Levitin to begin with, are undoubtedly commendable, but in this recording they definitely do not sound as the most sophisticated around. As is obvious from older recordings, the Kirov woodwinds surely have a lot more in store.
The short fillings from Borodin and Balakirev are much in the same vein.Read more ›
strength of Gergiev and the Kirov's strengths-and it was worth
every penny. Purchased it to fill in a gap in my music collec-
tion, and when I went to pop it in the car player the next day-
my jaw dropped as soon as the opening bars rang out: it is ab-
solutely incredible, a real tour-de-force, it is a masterfully
powerful exposition of this classic relegated to hum-drum play-
ing all too often. Here it is no wimpy set of program pieces
designed to provide a comfortable afternoon snooze. No indeed,
for it is a forceful torrent of sound, carrying one along the
mind's eye with the clever,resourceful Scheherazade. When I
listen to it, I cannot help but team it up as a soundtrack to a
Ray Harryhausen classic cinema, it is that good.
For anyone who has not had the great good fortune to see and hear the Kirov Orchestra play in it's home setting, or on tour-
grab this disc, it will not disappoint you at all. Despite all
the economic and political turmoil enmeshing Russia, the Kirov
still has full command of it's faculties as one of the world's
great orchestras, a formidable ensemble of polished brass, sil-
ken strings, and great ensemble playing. I was lucky enough to
see them while in St. Petersburg, Russia on a student studytour
performing at the Kirov Theatre, in performances of Swan lake
and La Traviata, and both were bravura performances. In short,
they still got it, and they are incredibly great.
This is definitely going on my desert island collection list!
And I am buying copies for all my friends and family for the
holidays to boot.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra's Scheherazade is a splendid performance full of excitement and drama along with superb violin solos. Read morePublished on Aug. 23 2003
One might assume that a Russian conductor and orchestra are a natural for Rimsky Korsakov. Perhaps but as is clear here not always. Read morePublished on March 26 2003 by NNNNN
This is a surprise! Who would have guessed that Scheherazade is actually a big-boned Russian farmer's daughter, and that the adventures she recounts would not be out of place in... Read morePublished on Nov. 18 2002 by MartinP