- Symphony, for orchestra No. 3 (ii) in C major, Op. 32
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov is best loved for such colorful Romantic scores as "Scheherazade," "Capriccio Espagnol," and "The Flight of the Bumblebee," though he is not widely remembered as a symphonist. The "Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 1" and the "Symphony No. 3 in C major, Op. 32" are early works, the former composed on and off while Rimsky-Korsakov was a naval cadet and a student of Mily Balakirev, and the latter while he was studying Renaissance counterpoint and struggling to shed the German influence on his music. As a result, these academic symphonies are not characteristic of Rimsky-Korsakov's mature style, which was derived from his involvement with the Mighty Handful, and listeners may be disappointed not to find the exotic subject matter or the dazzling orchestral effects that make his later works so attractive. Gerard Schwarz and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra give solid readings, and both performances show the symphonies as competent, cast somewhat in the Schumann mold. However, while this 2016 Naxos release may be of greatest interest to students of Rimsky-Korsakov's early development, casual classical listeners may take it or leave it.