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Shchedrin: Concertos For Orchestra / Karabits, Bournemouth Symphony

Shchedrin / Bournemouth So / Karabits
Release Date: 04/27/2010 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572405   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Rodion Shchedrin
Conductor:  Kirill Karabits
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews


This is an exciting release of excellent music by one of Russia's greatest living composers (except that the last time I checked the Shchedrins were residents of Munich). As a composer, Rodion Shchedrin has been cursed by the popularity of his "Carmen" Ballet, but while you won't find the same level of tunefulness (obviously) in his original music, there's a similarly brilliant orchestral imagination at work, and no small level of arresting invention. Concerto No. 4, inspired by the folk music of Shchedrin's childhood, contains evocative writing for (among other things) recorder and harpsichord. Shostakovich's famous "tick-tock" percussion from the Fourth and Fifteenth symphonies
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Shchedrin actually quotes a traditional Russian song in the Fifth concerto, but the remaining tunes are all original, and the title suggests the work's form--a simple alternation (with variations) of the basic material. Although characterized by some powerfully dissonant outbursts, the progress of the music is always clear and easy to follow, and the mood of both concertos is predominantly lyrical and often quite nostalgic. They are beautiful works. Kristallene Gusli is a brief, atmospheric exercise in mostly high sonorities, and it reveals Shchedrin's ability to write effective "modern" music (by which I mean essentially texture-based or athematic).

The performances under the able leadership of Kirill Karabits sound very confident, with the orchestra playing extremely well in music that affords numerous solo opportunities. Shchedrin attended the sessions and pronounced himself fully satisfied with the results. Certainly I see no reason to take issue with his judgment. The sonics are also extremely vivid and remarkably well balanced given some of the tricky juxtapositions of texture and sonority that Shchedrin explores in all of this music. Without question this is a major release from a composer who richly deserves the attention.

--David Hurwitz,ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Orchestra no 4 "Round Dances" by Rodion Shchedrin
Conductor:  Kirill Karabits
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
2.
Concerto for Orchestra no 5 "4 Russian Songs" by Rodion Shchedrin
Conductor:  Kirill Karabits
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
3.
The Crystal Gusli by Rodion Shchedrin
Conductor:  Kirill Karabits
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 

Sound Samples

Concerto for Orchestra No. 4, "Khorovodi" (Round Dances)
Concerto for Orchestra No. 5, "4 Russian Songs"
Khrustal'niye gusli (The Crystal Gusli)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Highly evocative December 26, 2011 By James Carleton (Camarillo, CA) See All My Reviews "I first came into contact with the music of Shchedrin while I was in college. I purchased a record of the first and third piano concertos, and was immediately taken by the inventiveness of this then-unknown (to me and even my music teachers) Russian composer. My search for more recordings of his music was futile, however, although I was eventually able to buy a CD of that record, which also had the second concerto, and later a CD of the "Carmen Ballet".

My delight at finding, and immediately purchasing, this CD was not dashed by the results. While the Fifth Concerto can be a bit of a difficult journey (melodies as we traditionally know them are few: texture is predominant, and harmonies are often highly dissonant), the Fourth Concerto is marvelous from beginning to end. The opening, jaunty little recorder melody signals a wonderful journey through joyful childhood memories, with occasional dark moments that every Life experiences. We feel the trotting of a horse as it draws the 'troika' that is the prime vehicle for movement through the rural Russian countryside. Stops are made here and there to watch young men and women dancing. An incredible piece which deserves to be heard in concert halls. This CD is worth buying for this work, alone.

Lest anyone think that I dislike the Fifth Concerto, please disabuse yourself of that impression. It is difficult, but it is still good music, and it tends to reveal its intricacies and marvels layer by layer, over numerous playings. Don't be surprised if it doesn't "catch" you on first hearing; don't be shocked if, after three or four playings, you find yourself enjoying it.

The add-on piece, "Crystal Psaltery", is more atmosphere than anything else. One senses the physical immensity of a large Russian Orthodox church, overlayed onto, or by, a Japanese garden. Written as a tribute to Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu (whose music I readily admit I have rarely enjoyed), the meditative, other-wordly qualities evoked never quite take definite shape, but swirl around the orchestra. This piece perfectly fits between the two concerti, and my only complaint is that it physically does not do so on the CD, but I "fixed" that when I copied it to iTunes ;-)

Maestro Karabits and the Bournemouth SO play this music with panache, complete musicianship and evident enjoyment, and it is hard to imagine that another recording will outdo it. Granted, it isn't widely-known material, so another recording isn't likely anytime soon, but that is not the fault of the music. Being on a budget label should make it easier for music-lovers to give this a try. When will we get a recording of the first three concerti by these same forces?"
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