It is often said that if Vasily Sergeyevich Kalinnikov had lived longer, he might have been numbered amongst the greatest Russian composers. Perhaps, though it's worth bearing in mind that by the time Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich had reached Kalinnikov's fatal 35 years they had written considerably more of lasting value. No, it's fruitless to brood on what light have been; Kalinnikov's First Symphony is to be accepted for what it is: a fine example a Russian 'folk-song symphony', with all he strengths and weaknesses implied by that description—wonderful harmonies and orchestral colours, and irresistibly memorable tunes which don't always prove entirely amenable to the kind of development Kalinnikov expects of them. If it'sRead more approached with plenty of vigour and melodic sweep it can be really enjoyable: both Toscanini (dell'Arte—mono) and Svetlanov (EMI ASD3502, 8/78—nla), in their very different ways, drove the music hard—but it paid off; even the crude cyclicism of the later stages of the finale is carried forward by a strong current. But what Jarvi shows is that there's more than one way to approach this abundantly inventive score. His interpretation is subtler, and allows details more time to speak—it's lovely to hear the first movement's big tune breathing so freely (those repeated phrases can be wearing if insufficiently differentiated)—and for the first time the slow movement reminded me fleetingly of Borodin's musical landscapes; Toscanini and Svetlanov sound impatient after this.
Perhaps there is a greater sense of bracing momentum in Järvi's rivals, but it is the Jarvi that set me brooding on chord progressions and affecting turns of phrase. And he certainly obtains some powerful and moody playing from the SNO in the two early Glazunov pieces—the fine fill-ups for a highly enjoyable disc. Excellent recordings.
Spring, Op. 34by Alexander Glazunov Conductor:
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1891; Russia
Average Customer Review: ( 3 Customer Reviews )
Beautiful, rarely heard masterpiecesDecember 12, 2018By Nicholas Kyriazi (Pittsburgh, PA)See All My Reviews"The Kalinnikov Symphony #1 is a perfect example of a wrongly neglected masterpiece, equal to any of the overplayed blockbusters in orchestral concert halls throughout the world. I don't know to what to attribute the neglect of a seemingly entire parallel universe full of masterpieces created in the latter half of the 19th century. Perhaps only laziness. I asked a famous French conductor if he had heard of Anton Rubinstein or Vassily Kalinnikov. He said that he had heard of Kalashnikov but not Kalinnikov. Sad but true. Alexander Glazunov is at least familiar to most conductors but the two beautiful pieces on this CD were unknown to me. Thank God someone played and recorded them. If you enjoy wonderfully melodic and well-orchestrated pieces, buy this CD. Listen to it first on YouTube, like I did."Report Abuse
Beautiful MusicApril 23, 2018By Mary W. (Rockville, MD)See All My Reviews"The music on this CD is beautiful. I love this music and highly recommend this. Too bad the composer of the first selection, Symphony No 1, Kalinnkov, died so young as he was very gifted, but I am happy to listen again and again to this masterpiece!!! The Scottish Orchestra presents a musical masterpiece!!"Report Abuse
A composer that should not be overlookedMarch 29, 2014By William Muthig (Milan, OH)See All My Reviews"Because Vasily Kalinnikov produced few orchestral works, he might be overlooked by many listeners. That is a mistake and anyone listening to his Symphony No. 1 will come away impressed. Not only is this symphony a remarkable work, the playing of the Scottish National Orchestra on this recording is excellent. Anyone looking for an introduction to Kalinnikov cannot go wrong making a purchase of this Chandos offering."Report Abuse