These performances are at least as fine as any by Russian ensembles, and they are surely better recorded. Vassily Kalinnikov's symphonies hover on the edge of the repertoire, but they are very beautiful works--a touch stiff formally, perhaps, but melodically extremely attractive, and very, very Russian. They actually sound a bit similar, but all that means is that if you like one, you'll like the other just as much. Neither outstays its welcome; both fit on a single CD lasting a touch over 77 minutes.
Kees Bakels and the orchestra, as with the Rimsky-Korsakov recordings from these forces, make a wholly positive impression. The strings sing richly in the soaring melodies in the allegros and slow movements; rhythms snap with theRead more requisite tang in the two scherzos. Bakels pays special attention to details of color and balance: listen to how sensitively the ticking harp in the First symphony's slow movement underpins the musical discourse. It's truly poetic. If you want these works in modern sound, this is the disc to get.