Kabalevsky: Romeo and Juliet; The Comedians; Overtures

Kabalevsky: Romeo and Juliet; The Comedians; Overtures

by Anatoly Lapunov

CD

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Overview

Kabalevsky: Romeo and Juliet; The Comedians; Overtures

The United States and the Soviet Union might have been mortal enemies in the mid-20th century, but you'd never know it from symphonic programs of the era. It was not only the expatriate Prokofiev and the dissident Shostakovich who were played, but also approved Soviet composers like Aram Khachaturian and Dmitry Kabalevsky, whose suite from "The Comedians" was a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Kabalevsky is less often heard these days, which probably explains why the Delos label reissued this recording from the early 1990s. Unless you read the fine print, there's little indication beyond the old spelling of the Byelorussian Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra that this is a reissue. ("Belarus" is now the preferred spelling.) The sound is serviceable, but those expecting state-of-the-art sonics may wish to do some sampling. The good news is that these are clean, enthusiastic performances of some of Kabalevsky's most popular works. "The Comedians, Op. 26," is crisp and downright fun, although the Galop (track 12), perhaps Kabalevsky's single most popular bit of music, is misidentified as a Gavotte in the track list. "Romeo and Juliet, Op. 56," is a colorful setting that owes a bit too much to Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, but the three somewhat lesser known pieces that close out the album are very attractive. All have the uncomplicated structures, more than his conventional harmony, make Kabalevsky's music easy to grasp, but they also have touches that suggest how he was not a mere clone of earlier musicians. An enjoyable romp through music that parents and grandparents appreciated better than listeners of today.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/31/2012
Label: Delos Records
UPC: 0013491201726
catalogNumber: 2017
Rank: 14625

Tracks

  1. Colas Breugnon (Kola Bryun'yon), opera, Op. 24/Op. 90 (2 versions): Overture
  2. Spring (Vesna), symphonic poem, Op. 65
  3. Pathétique Overture for orchestra, Op. 64
  4. The Comedians, suite for small orchestra, Op. 26
  5. Romeo and Juliet, suite from the incidental music, Op. 56

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