- Audio CD (May 20 1997)
- SPARS Code: ADD
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: Import
- Label: Melodiya
- ASIN: B000001HDP
|1. Sheherazade Op.35 Symphonic Suite after 'A Thousand And One Nights': The Sea And Sinbad's Ship|
|2. Sheherazade Op.35 Symphonic Suite after 'A Thousand And One Nights': The Story Of The Kalender Prince|
|3. Sheherazade Op.35 Symphonic Suite after 'A Thousand And One Nights': The Young Prince And The Young Princess|
|4. Sheherazade Op.35 Symphonic Suite after 'A Thousand And One Nights': Festival In Bagdad; The Sea; The Ship Goes To Pieces On A Rock Surmounted By A Bronze Warrior (Shipwreck); Conclusion|
|5. Symphony No 1 In E Minor, Op.1: Largo Assai - Allegro|
|6. Symphony No 1 In E Minor, Op.1: Andante Tranquillo|
|7. Symphony No 1 In E Minor, Op.1: Scherzo. Vivace|
|8. Symphony No 1 In E Minor, Op.1: Allegro assai|
|1. Symphonic Sutie (Symphony No. 2): Largo - Allegro Giocoso|
|2. Symphonic Sutie (Symphony No. 2): Allegro - Meno Mosso Allagando - Molto Allegro|
|3. Symphonic Sutie (Symphony No. 2): Allegro Risoluto Alla Marcia|
|4. Symphonic Sutie (Symphony No. 2): Allegretto Viavace - Andatae Amoroso - Animato Assai - Tempo I|
|5. Symphony No. 3 In C Major, Op.32: Moderato Assai|
|6. Symphony No. 3 In C Major, Op.32: Scherzo. Vivo|
|7. Symphony No. 3 In C Major, Op.32: Andante|
|8. Symphony No. 3 In C Major, Op.32: Allegro con spirito|
The symphonies are the real treat, particularly the first and second. The first symphony is marked by a callow but confidently traditional mood and is one of my favorites, though it is often hard to find and isn't Rimsky's most provocative work.
Antar (symphony 2) is the precursor to Scheherazade in my mind. Like the Scheherazade, it is a musical story that, through its colorful orchestration and dynamic composition, almost becomes completely visual.
I have my own affection for the third symphony, but I'll be the first to say that it is one of Rimsky's least appreciable works. It is far too overstudied -- to the point that it often impedes developement. Still, it is a Rimsky work, and I don't think any of his work can even border on failure. There is a significant amount of value in the scherzo alone, and the symphony is definitely worth hearing and enjoying.
On this recording you are able to hear the stories told by the slave and are kept in suspense until each story continues, only to be caught up again in the next one.
For example, "Scheherazade" is given idiomatically and persuasively by Svetlanov and his players, but it suffers from severe sonic distortion in tutti secions where the entire orchestra plays, like the opening notes. In "The Story of the Kalendar Prince," the solo trombonist gives a horrible solo, with tempi that are too slow and an awful, blatty vibrato, though the trumpet solo is excellent. Still, this performance is very good overall.
Next, the First Symphony suffers from out-of-tune sections in the first movement. There is also a noticeable amount of rhythmic "fudging" by the low strings. Again, the tutti sections suffer from severe distortion. The second movement is beautiful and serene, though. This is very special symphony which generally comes off very well.
The U.S.S.R Symphony's performance of "Antar" under Svetlanov begins very out of tune. It is actually hard to tell which key the orchestra is playing in! Overall, this is one of the better performances of the set. The drama and tension, as well as Rimsky's brilliant orchestration, are captured very well, and this performance will be sure to excite.
Finally, the Third Symphony presented here is also one of the better performances of the set. It does not seem as exaggerated at the tutti sections, in the sections where precise rhythm is most important, and the overall blend of the orchestra. This symphony is very little-known, and it is wonderful to have a great performance of it.
Overall, I would recommend this set to any listener. However, though I have not listened to any other recordings of these works, I have researched which recordings to have. I would recommend Neeme Jarvi's recordings of the Rimsky symphonies, coupled with the Capriccio Espagnole, on the Deutsch Grammophon label. Another recommendation for these works is that of Dmitri Kitajenko on the Chandos label. It is a two-CD set with the Capriccio, the symphonies, the Russian Easter Overture, and the Rimsky Piano Concerto. These are difficult to find, however, and this set suffices, for the most part.