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Scheherazade/Russian Easter Ov

Nicolai Rimsky Korsakov Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 34.29
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Product Details

1. Scheherazade, Op. 35
2. Russian Easter Overture, Op. 36

Product Description


Scheherazade is no longer the ubiquitous presence it used to be on disc and in the concert hall, but given a terrific performance, it can't fail to impress. It gets one here from the Atlanta Symphony and its new music director, Robert Spano. The big brass chords of the Sultan's theme that open the work are as malevolent as you could wish and the seductive, sensuous violin of Cecylia Arzewski in response (depicting Scheherazade) is not only beautifully played, but recorded in proper size and relation to the big orchestra. Spano characterizes each movement or episode beautifully, capturing the rocking waves lapping against Sinbad's boat and the ferocious final shipwreck with dramatic and musical instincts that make this one of the best (and best-recorded) of all Scheherazades. The colorful filler, the Russian Easter Overture, is a winner, too. --Dan Davis

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Scheherazades Ever! April 20 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
With all due respect to the negative reviews, I don't understand what they didn't like about this recording. This is easily one of the best Scheherazades ever recorded(and many have been recorded), and, taking into account the excellent "hi-fi" sound, the first choice for anyone looking for a modern recording. As the critic points out, the opening brass is as menacing as you'll ever hear, which sets the stage for the rest of this piece. The first movement is very exciting, the second has the necessary exoticism and menace--and the conductor does a wonderful job increasing excitement by holding back the orchestra for just a moment before climaxes and then letting it burst out. The third movement is soothing, with beautiful solo violin. The last movement has just the right tempos and coherence to be both exciting and a recapitulation of all the themes.The last movement of all other recordings of Scheherazade just sounds like an incoherent jumble of loud noise, when compared with this one. The sound quality is amazing and creates a true concert-hall experience. The Russian Easter Overture may go down as the best one ever recorded,and here the sound quality works to create a truly magical--and sonically impressive--finale. Quite simply, this is the Scheherazade and RE Overture to own.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Almost the best March 20 2002
Format:Audio CD
When the ASO issued this recording I was reluctant to buy it but since it is one of my favorite pieces and I love the ASO, I finally did. The notes state that Telarc decided to record this piece based on a performance on May 4, 2000. I wasn't in the audience that night but I was there two days later and while I was anticipating the concert, what I heard I can only describe as sloppy. I don't think Telarc would have recorded this based on the performance I heard. Having said all this, I think that the recording is great and a worthy addition to any record library.
My favorite recording of this work is with the London Symphony and Stokowsky conducting. I don't think any other recording can match the excitement or the sonorities that Stokowsky can bring out specially considering it was first issued on vinyl and later reissued on CD for only a short while. This CD has been out of print for a long time and I can only hope London can reissue it in a new digital remastering using the latest technology.
Back to the ASO recording, it turned out I loved it for an unsuspecting reason and that is the wonderful playing of Ms. Arzewsky. I think she plays the solo violin part here better than in any other available recording of this work including my favorite Stokowsky. I think the sweetness of tone she can elicit can only be compared to the late Mr. Stern. I believe she truly feels at one with the heroine.
In general I'm not a fan of Ms. Arzewsky. Even though I think she is a first class violinist, her playing at live concerts seldom rises to her potential. I hope her success here encourages her to do her best at the live concerts.
Buy this record. You will not regret it.
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Format:Audio CD
I saw an episode of the Simpsons, where Bart and Lisa were asked what they thought of a theme park. Their response was a very unexcited and even mundane, "Meh". "Meh" is exactly what I would use to describe this recording. It isn't horrible and it isn't incredible. It's just, "Meh". If you love Telarc sonics, you won't be let down by this recording. Telarc is up to its consistent standard of audiophile sound (even though with DSD recordings, you usually have to crank the volume higher than with other discs). Beautiful sound aside though, this performance, in my estimation, isn't anything to get excited about. Personally, I've steered a few people the way of the earlier Telarc recording of this piece with Charles Mackerras and the London Symphony Orchestra as the performance is much much more exciting. Spano and the ASO obviously know the work, play it well, etc., but the performance just isn't exciting. When I listen, I hear wonderful segments, but in the end I'm not moved like I am with Mackerras' recording (Karajan and Reiner also have great recordings but in non-digital sound). With that being said, I'm still excited to see what the future brings us in regard to the Spano/Atlanta combination.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it for the Russian Easter Overture! Aug. 28 2001
Format:Audio CD
This is not to say that there's anything wrong with the performance of Scherazade, quite the contrary. The violin is especially wonderful...never heard the violin part done any better. However, there are any number of wonderfully played and wonderfully recorded versions of Scherazade (though not on Telarc...be careful here). The Russian Easter Overture, the more rarely heard inclusion, is by far the definitive version. I don't think it has ever been played better and I absolutely know it has never been recorded anything like this well. The horns seem to be right in the room with you and every note is musical (this is by no means always the case in Telarc recordings, which often tend to try to sound like sound effects demos instead of musical performances). I came to the end of it with tears in my eyes it was so beautiful. You have never heard this bit of music until you have heard this performance. Highest possible recommendation.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Standout Scheherazade in a Crowded Field
There are over 70 available recordings of Scheherazade but this one truly stands out of the pack. The Atlanta Symphony and Robert Spano produce an amazing display of orchestral... Read more
Published on May 30 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars This Recording Is A Total Dud
This recording is a total dud and is to be avoided at all costs. I think this is the worst performance of Scheherazade I have ever heard. Read more
Published on Sept. 18 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Why Such A Fuss Over This Second-Rate Recording?
This disc is so second-rate, I cannot understand the fuss. A mediocre orchestra under a mediocre conductor gives a mediocre performance, and many American critics have gone into... Read more
Published on Aug. 27 2003 by "classicalfanindc"
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine performance, great sound
This is a very fine performance of the Scheherezade. However, i felt that it was just a bit too analytical to take fire and that the soloist, whilst very good, was just a bit too... Read more
Published on May 24 2003 by P. SIMPSON
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
This is the greatest recording the ASO has put out. Robert Spano isn't afraid to let go and go with the music. Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
I own a numerous recordings by the ASO. Simply, because I am a big fan of an orchestra that can create symphonic colors through orchestral blend. Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2001 by Joe Flute
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
The Atlanta Symphony has never sounded so good, and that is quite a compliment considering the slew of grammy-winning recordings they have garnered. Read more
Published on July 22 2001 by Lord Oberon
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