Glazunov: Complete Concertos

Glazunov: Complete Concertos

4.0 2
by José Serebrier
     
 
A complete recording of Alexander Glazunov's concertos, including related works for solo instrument and orchestra, might have seemed an unpromising undertaking; except for the "Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82," and the "Saxophone Concerto in E flat major, Op. 109," these works are not often played, at least outside Russia. On hearing the results, you're prepared to

Overview

A complete recording of Alexander Glazunov's concertos, including related works for solo instrument and orchestra, might have seemed an unpromising undertaking; except for the "Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82," and the "Saxophone Concerto in E flat major, Op. 109," these works are not often played, at least outside Russia. On hearing the results, you're prepared to credit the major Warner Classics & Jazz label for taking a chance on an unorthodox project. Then you learn something still more surprising: according to Uruguayan conductor José Serebrier, who contributes an elegant set of booklet notes to the CD release, he was initially approached by the label, not vice versa. He was skeptical about the whole idea but warmed to it as he reviewed Glazunov's music. Someone had very good instincts indeed: Serebrier by the time this disc was issued had recorded a good deal of Glazunov with various groups, and he seems to be in the middle of a one-man campaign to rehabilitate the composer's reputation. His booklet notes name-check Bach and Mahler as composers who took a long time to be rediscovered, and the amazing thing is that by the time you're through with this album you'll be ready to sign on to the missionary endeavor. The key here seems to be that hearing a lot of Glazunov attunes the listener to his musical language, which due to its tonal orientation and sober manner has unfairly been tagged with the C-word: conservative. All these concertos share a sectional architecture, with rapid shifts in tempo that relax into gorgeous lyrical episodes and come together into big finales. The structure can be deployed to approximate the classical three-movement concerto form, or tweaked into the variation set that makes up the second and final movement of the "Piano Concerto No. 1 in F minor, Op. 82." And at the micro level, the structure is highly variable. Glazunov's rhythmic sense is as subtle as those of composers who referred to complex mathematical models, and the range of relationships between solo instrument and orchestra is vast. Serebrier, well into his eighth decade when this album was recorded in Moscow, leads a Russian National Orchestra for whom this music is bred in the bone, and he finds a quintet of young soloists, violinist Rachel Barton Pine, pianist Alexander Romanovsky, cellist Wen-Sinn Yang, saxophonist Marc Chisson, and French hornist Alexey Serov, who get the performance traditions involved in the msuic and deliver its ravishing melodies with enthusiasm and passion. A superb, even groundbreaking effort all around.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/26/2011
Label:
Warner Classics
UPC:
0825646794652
catalogNumber:
4679465
Rank:
62149

Tracks

  1. Meditation for violin & piano in D major, Op. 32
  2. Concerto ballata for cello & orchestra in C major, Op. 108
  3. Rêverie for horn & piano in D flat major, Op. 24
  4. Piano Concerto No. 1 in F minor, Op. 92
  5. Saxophone Concerto in E flat major, Op. 109
  6. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B major, Op. 100
  7. Chant du ménéstral (Minstrel's Song) for cello & orchestra in F sharp minor, Op. 71
  8. Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82

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Glazunov: Complete Concertos 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
RGraves321 More than 1 year ago
Jose Serebrier's taken some time off from his recording cycle of the Glazunov symphonies to do this two-disc set of the Russian composer's concerti. Being well-familiar with Glazunov's works, he leads the Russian National Orchestra (who have an affinity for music by their native sons) in a series of well-defined, sympathetic performances of these works. Glazunov composed concerti for a variety of instruments, so there's a host of soloists featured as well. Chronologically, Glazunov straddles the beginning of the 20th Century. He studied under Rimsky-Korsakov, and mentored Dmitri Shostakovich. His first piano concerto (1911) is full of rich, romantic-era orchestration, and sounds somewhat like Rachmaninov's first concerto, composed around the same time. By the second, though, (1917) Glazunov had a more distinctive compositional voice. Pianist Alexander Romanovsky plays with fire and conviction without pushing the solos into theatrical pyrotechnics. For me, the Violin Concerto (1904) is the crowning jewel. Rachel Barton Pine brings out the warmth of the melody, lightly skipping around the technical passages without breaking a sweat. If you like the Brahms concerto and haven't heard this work, you're in for a treat. Also included are Glazunov's cello and saxophone concerto. Like the violin concerto, his work for cello exudes late-romantic lushness with just a hint of Glazunov's Russian origins. Of more interest, though is the Concerto in E-flat major for alto saxophone and string orchestra. Written just two years before his death in 1936, the concerto shows Glazunov at his most adventurous. It may have been his maturity as a composer, but I also think it was the still-new saxophone's lack of repertoire and performing traditions. It gave Glazunov a blank slate in which he wrote as free of the influence of his mentors and peers as he ever got. It's a very appealing, although somewhat different work, then the other pieces on this recording. Serebrier rounds out the recording with some short works for solo instruments and orchestra. For those of us who are familiar with Glazunov, it's instructive to hear these works one right after the other. For not familiar with this Russian master, this disc is a great place to start.
Ted_Wilks More than 1 year ago
This 2-CD album, entitled "Glazunov Complete Concertos" is well worth having, if only because all his concertos are indeed available in one album; previously, most (and perhaps all) of these works were available on various CDs, but to collect the complete set previously one would presumably have had to purchase many CDs, and perhaps been obliged to acquire other works in which one was not interested - such are the hazards of buying CDs. The orchestra plays very well under Jose Serebrier's expert conducting, and the recorded sound is very good. The "star" soloist of the collection is the violinist Rachel Barton Pine, whose recordings should by now be familiar to many music-lovers. I confess that the names of the other soloists were unknown to me, but I have no quarrel with their interpretations of the works. Recommended for lovers of Glazunov's concertos who want all of these works in one album. Ted Wilks