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Symphony No. 1/Islamey

Balakirev Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product Details


1. Largo/Allegro Vivo
2. Scherzo: Vivo
3. Andante
4. Finale: Allegro Moderato
5. Islamey
6. Tamara

Product Description


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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Balakirev--Modest Cost, Excellent Performances! Sept. 9 2003
Format:Audio CD
As a musical Russophile, I really enjoyed this CD of Mily Balakirev's orchestral music. It is a treasure.
Igor Golovschin gives wonderful, committed performances of unknown and underrated works. The First Symphony is beautiful, with lots of Russian themes from Balakirev's folk song collection. You will hear pre-echoes of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade." The woodwinds handle the Russian motivic sequencing very well. This work is underrated, and Naxos offers an inexpensive opportunity to hear these works.
"Tamara" is also very well-played and -conducted. It is similar to the account by Evgeny Svetlanov (on a two-CD Melodiya BMG set called "Symphonic Poems from Russia," also recommendable, if you can find it.). Golovschin studied under Svetlanov as Assistant
Conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, so this is no surpise. The full range of emotions comes across, and the orchestra plays very well as a unit.
It is also wonderful to have an orchestral transcription of Balakirev's piano showpiece, "Islamey," by Sergey Liapunov, a Balakirev disciple. The orchestra glitters, plays with power and conviction, and plays very emotionally and tenderly in "Islamey's" central section.
Overall, this is a wonderful CD to have in your collection, or if you are simply curious to sample Mily Balakirev's music. Either way, you cannot go wrong!
Other recommendations:
Mily Balakirev: Symphony No. 2, Overture on Russian Themes (Igor Golovschin, Moscow SO, Naxos)
Symphonic Poems from Russia (Evgeny Svetlanov, U.S.S.R. SO, Melodiya, 2 CD's)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balakirev--Modest Cost, Excellent Performances! Sept. 9 2003
By Paul Rossi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
As a musical Russophile, I really enjoyed this CD of Mily Balakirev's orchestral music. It is a treasure.
Igor Golovschin gives wonderful, committed performances of unknown and underrated works. The First Symphony is beautiful, with lots of Russian themes from Balakirev's folk song collection. You will hear pre-echoes of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade." The woodwinds handle the Russian motivic sequencing very well. This work is underrated, and Naxos offers an inexpensive opportunity to hear these works.
"Tamara" is also very well-played and -conducted. It is similar to the account by Evgeny Svetlanov (on a two-CD Melodiya BMG set called "Symphonic Poems from Russia," also recommendable, if you can find it.). Golovschin studied under Svetlanov as Assistant
Conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, so this is no surpise. The full range of emotions comes across, and the orchestra plays very well as a unit.
It is also wonderful to have an orchestral transcription of Balakirev's piano showpiece, "Islamey," by Sergey Liapunov, a Balakirev disciple. The orchestra glitters, plays with power and conviction, and plays very emotionally and tenderly in "Islamey's" central section.
Overall, this is a wonderful CD to have in your collection, or if you are simply curious to sample Mily Balakirev's music. Either way, you cannot go wrong!
Other recommendations:
Mily Balakirev: Symphony No. 2, Overture on Russian Themes (Igor Golovschin, Moscow SO, Naxos)
Symphonic Poems from Russia (Evgeny Svetlanov, U.S.S.R. SO, Melodiya, 2 CD's)
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and upbeat May 1 2007
By Newton Ooi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Balakirev was one of the last great Russian composers of the Romantic era. He did not compose as many works as some of his counterparts, but those he did are quite good. This CD comprises some of his most famous symphonic pieces, and provide about an hour of exciting music. The themes are strong, upbeat, powerful; quite different from the drama of Glazunov's symphonies, or the melodic beauty of Tchaikovsky's ballets, or the Asiatic sounding works of Kalinnikov. This music is distinctly different from other Russian Romance composers, but is still great.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting disc Dec 25 2009
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is actually a very fine release, able, I think, to compete even with the Svetlanov recordings of the symphony. Igor Golovschin directs his old band, and gives us a clear, no-fuss, classically informed performance; it doesn't miss out on some of the more gripping drama of this music, either, however. The symphony itself belongs firmly to the Russian romantic tradition, cast in four movements (with the scherzo placed second); it is relatively ambitious in scope but Balakirev actually manages to pull of a work that doesn't really have any dull moments. Stylistically it isn't too far away from the Borodin symphonies, is heavily influenced by folk music and is stronger on atmosphere (and orchestration) than on thematic development, but the ideas themselves are actually pretty interesting, and in particular the first movement is stirring. The whole work is no masterpiece, perhaps, but a really good work, very convincingly realized here.

The piano work Islamey is one of Balakirev's most famous works; a striking, exotic-sounding and very effective work. It is given here in its orchestration by Lyapunov, which works rather well, but lacks the brilliance and some of the excitement of the piano original. The symphonic poem Tamara, however, is a masterpiece. Based on a Lermontov ballad, it opens and ends with slow, subdued and atmospheric depictions of the river Terek, rather ominously hinting at the themes to be used in the main body of the work, among them the two memorable, alluring love themes which are developed into a powerful climax. The work is also splendidly scored, and stands - I think - as one of the most striking symphonic poems of Russian Romanticism.

As they are in symphonies, Golovschin and the Russian State Symphony's performances are very convincing in the tone poems, and the recording is quite good as well. A very welcome release, this one, and one that can be strongly recommended. It does perhaps not wipe out memories of Svetlanov in these works, performances that are fiercer and more red-blooded, but not necessarily superior to Golovschin's more balanced and lyrical approach.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balakirev's late 19th century Symphony No.1 Aug. 12 2012
By Dr. H. A. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Balakirev Symphony No.1
Mily Balakirev was a 19th century Russian Romantic composer. He became the leader of a group of nationalist composers known as The Five or, in Russian, moguchaya kuchka - the Mighty Handful. Balakirev, a brilliant pianist as well as composer, was the only full-time professional musician in the group. The other four were only part-time composers: Alexander Borodin was a medical chemist and Cesar Cui, Modest Mussorgsky and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov were all military men.

This CD has the first of his two symphonies played by the Russian State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Igor Golovschin. This four-movement work has the running scherzo as second movement. This sounds like it could have been composed by Mendelssohn if he had stayed a while in Russia. The beautiful slow movement (marked Andante) with its limpid theme introduced by the clarinet comes third and the finale (shades of Borodin's Prince Igor?) consists of a trio of themes, the first two derived from Russian folk melodies.

There are two generous `fillers' on the CD. First Balakirev's piano fantasy Islamey in the form orchestrated by Alexandr Liapunov and the even more substantial (23 min) tone poem Tamara that is a setting of a poem by Mikhail Lermontov - the poet whose poem `The Crag' inspired a tone poem of Rachmaninoff's. Enjoyable, accessible music well played by the Russian orchestra.

Balakirev: Symphony No. 2; Russia
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding performances and compositions July 8 2006
By Pork Chop - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
When I listen to a CD, I look for a well performed, well recorded

overall experience, with great audio anad memorable compostions.

This release is the case, which is somewhat difficult to find.

I would suggest it's unique in the rarity in locating Balakirev's

works compiled in a long playing CD, such as this one vs.

intermixed in a greatest hits package, irritatingly with

other composers (on other releases.) We are spared that

aggravation ont his release, sold at extremely affordable

price.

I would suggest one start with Cesar Cui, to really mellow out,

and then perhaps, after the outstanding numbers of the piano

(on Naxo elsewhere), to move on to "Balakirev: Symphony No. 2;

Russia " and then, finally, to this release to wrap it up.

"Russia " and the other CD, is certainly Balakirev's forte,

however, this CD has memorably melodies and playmanship.
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