Last issue, I positively reviewed two issues in Intersound's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra series, discs of music by Brahms and Richard Strauss. The notes for those CDs describe a planned project of 150 releases—"The only collection you'll ever need"—a forgivable enthusiasm omitted here. On Intersound 2835, a fledgling collector will get solid, musical performances of eight staples of the lighter 19th-century orchestral repertoire—curtain raisers, they could be called. In common with the other two releases I'm familiar with, the playing is first-class and the recorded sound is excellent.
Yuri Simonov has conducted a lot of orchestras in a lot of places over the past three decades, as his dizzying CV details,Read more including a 15 year stint as Chief Conductor of the Bolshoi Opera. He leads the RPO with a fine dramatic sense, even if his take on these well-worn selections doesn't always match up with my idealized interpretations. The program gets off to a strong start with the Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture, taken at quite a clip and played with a thoroughly Russian exuberance. Simonov satisfies most consistently with slower, more lyrical music—the two Verdi Preludes, the first half of the Mignon Overture, and the beautifully expansive opening of the Ponchielli. I'm less enthusiastic about some of the more extroverted material. The Mephisto Waltz isn't sufficiently demonic (it's laid-back enough that its pianistic origins are obscured more than with other readings), the waltz rhythm in Invitation to the Dance isn't as buoyant as one might like, and the Berlioz "Hungarian March" is played at a rather deliberate tempo. But these are matters of taste and do not negate the usefulness of this bargain-priced CD in a nascent orchestral collection.
The sound is clean and smooth, with good weight. Notes are informative and geared to a thoughtful novice without insulting anyone's intelligence.
– Andrew Quint, Fanfare, reviewing an earlier issue of this recording Read less
Works on This Recording
Russlan and Ludmilla: Overtureby Mikhail Glinka Conductor:
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1837-1842; Russia Length: 5 Minutes 12 Secs.
La traviata: Act 1 Preludeby Giuseppe Verdi Conductor:
Period: Romantic Written: 1853; Italy Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs.
La traviata: Act 3 Preludeby Giuseppe Verdi Conductor:
Period: Romantic Written: 1853; Italy Length: 3 Minutes 32 Secs.
Mignon: Overtureby Ambroise Thomas Conductor:
Period: Romantic Written: 1866; France Length: 9 Minutes 12 Secs.
Absolutely MovingMay 10, 2012By Mary Mercer See All My Reviews"An absolute, must have for the days that, ' you just don't want to get out of bed' If there was an alarm clock that played this to wake you up... Folgers would go out of business."Report Abuse