Rimsky-Korsakov: Sheherazade, etc.

Rimsky-Korsakov: Sheherazade, etc.

by Valery Gergiev
     
 

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Valery Gergiev has a reputation for drawing raw, primal energy from his performances, especially those of Russian classics, so it comes as something of a surprise to find this beautifully lyrical recording of the Rimsky-Korsakov favorite, Scheherazade. What's not surprising, though, is that the conductor extracts a strongly…  See more details below

Overview

Valery Gergiev has a reputation for drawing raw, primal energy from his performances, especially those of Russian classics, so it comes as something of a surprise to find this beautifully lyrical recording of the Rimsky-Korsakov favorite, Scheherazade. What's not surprising, though, is that the conductor extracts a strongly committed performance from the Kirov Orchestra and that he lends his individual stamp to the familiar score. The beginning, for instance, is taken at an unusually slow tempo, lending an especially tranquil, perfumed air to the violin solo while also making the powerful orchestral tuttis seem all the more brooding. And once the theme gets going a couple of minutes into the movement, it's hard to resist the music's lyrical sway. Still, as the four sections unfold, a strong sense of the work's epic sweep comes through; Gergiev clearly revels in the composer's multicolored orchestration and evocative images, which recall tales from The Arabian Nights. Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony, in their great recording, may have the edge in ensemble polish, yet Gergiev carries off Scheherazade, in all its exotic splendor, like the soundtrack to a Cecil B. DeMille spectacular. Borodin's In the Steppes of Central Asia and Balakirev's tour-de-force Islamey are the fitting companion pieces, filling out this disc of Orientalist delights.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Of all the conductors who were trained in the last days of the Soviet Union, Valery Gergiev is surely the hottest. With a stunning series of recordings of Russian operas -- from Mussorgsky's "Boris" to Prokofiev's "Betrothal in a Monastery" -- Gergiev and his Kirov Opera Chorus and Orchestra, along with the best singers in Russia, have produced the most exciting and revelatory opera performances in the past decade. Nor have Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra slighted the symphonic repertoire. They have recorded the works of Stravinsky, Scriabin, and Mussorgsky to great critical acclaim. This recording of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Shéhérazade," coupled with Borodin's "In the Steppes of Central Asia" and Lyapunov's orchestration of Balakirev's "Islamey," is easily in the same league as Gergiev's earlier recordings and is as good or better than the best recordings of the past. In "Shéhérazade," Gergiev stresses the extravagant color and explosive movement of the score and finds the dramatic structure of the work in its balletic forms. When it comes to "In the Steppes," Gergiev illuminates the magnificence of his compositional structure through the brilliance of Borodin's orchestration. And in the riotous "Islamey," the Kirov's staggering display of ensemble virtuosity serves only to heighten the delirious excitement of the music. This is as great a recording of Russian music as has ever been made, with stupendous sound from Philips.
New York Times - John Rockwell
Mr. Gergiev takes a bold, extroverted, impassioned approach to this music, and the Kirov makes a properly mighty sound. But what distinguishes this reading is the lingering over details -- not just the violin part, played by Sergei Levitin, but the many lush and luxurious solos for other principals.... It is one of the most exciting Romantic orchestral discs in a long while.
Gramophone - Edward Greenfield
Pins you back with its red-blooded thrust and sound of a fullness and brilliance I have never known in a Russian recording before.... a new benchmark version.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/08/2002
Label:
Philips
UPC:
0028947084020
catalogNumber:
470840
Rank:
85538

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Scheherazade, symphonic suite for orchestra, Op. 35  - Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  - Clive Bennett  - Valery Gergiev  -  Mariinsky (Kirov) Theater Orchestra  - Mark Millington  - Sergei Levitin
  2. In the Steppes of Central Asia (V sredney Azii), musical picture for orchestra  - Alexander Borodin  - Clive Bennett  - Valery Gergiev  -  Mariinsky (Kirov) Theater Orchestra  - Mark Millington
  3. Islamey--Oriental Fantasy, for piano  - Mily Balakirev  - Clive Bennett  - Valery Gergiev  -  Mariinsky (Kirov) Theater Orchestra  - Mark Millington

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