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Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Easter Overture; Franck: Symphony / Kondrashin

Release Date: 10/26/2010 
Label:  Br Klassik   Catalog #: 900704   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-KorsakovCésar Franck
Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 52 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

FRANCK Symphony in d. RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Russian Easter Festival Overture Kyril Kondrashin, cond; Bavarian RSO BR 900704 (51:49) Live: Munich 2/1980

This disc preserves, in superb sound from Bavarian Radio’s own archives, a concert given by Kyril Kondrashin as guest conductor, on the basis of which he was appointed music director of the orchestra. Sadly, fate intervened, with the Russian maestro’s unexpected death from a heart attack the Read more following year. The concert thus provides a tantalizing taste of a potentially great partnership that never materialized, a combustible meeting of Kondrashin’s trademark style—rhythmic punch, fastidious dynamic control, and elegantly tapered phrasing—with the intensely individual sound of the Bavarian orchestra—silken, supple strings; rich, fruity woodwinds; and cutting brass, with a distinctive vibrato.

The Franck Symphony receives a memorable reading, combining precision with a high degree of excitement. Kondrashin imbues the introduction to the first movement with more momentum than usual, to the music’s great advantage—lighter textures, pointed rhythmic lift, and singing bass lines. His treatment of the Allegro is swift, punchy, and dramatic, avoiding any hint of bogging down in the thick textures of the second theme. The middle movement is played with a welcome emphasis on its element of scherzando caprice, and the finale is notable for its dynamic refinement and textural clarity.

The new disc nicely complements another live Kondrashin version, with the Concertgebouw in 1979 (Tahra): a very similar interpretation, but subtly different in emphasis through the brighter and (even) more incisive sound of the Amsterdam orchestra, compared to the darker, richer hues of the Munich performance.

Rimsky-Korsakov’s curtain raiser is done to the manner born, the Bavarian orchestra’s rich sonorities wonderfully evocative in the music’s great bell effects.

The recording is superb—a fairly close-up perspective on a natural hall sound with bite, transparency, and rich resonance. Production standards are high from this label, seemingly a German equivalent of the late (and much missed) BBC Legends. The disc will be self-recommending to fans of the conductor, and should make a few new ones.

FANFARE: Boyd Pomeroy
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Works on This Recording

Russian Easter Festival Overture, Op. 36 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Russia 
Venue:  Live  München, Herkulessaal der Residenz 
Length: 15 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Symphony in D minor, M 48 by César Franck
Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886-1888; France 
Venue:  Live München, Herkulessaal der Residenz 

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