Notes and Editorial Reviews
Leon Botstein's swift and seamless pacing of Glière's Il'ya Murometz gives this exceptionally long symphony a much needed momentum while advancing the story's dramatic narrative. With each episode flowing easily and naturally into the next, Botstein avoids the ponderous plodding of Harold Farberman's gargantuan (and still record 93-minute) account on Unicorn. He also displays more vitality than Edward Downes in his generally fine, if rather tame rendition on Chandos. Still, Donald Johanos, who employs tempos similar to Botstein's and who has at his disposal the distinctly less-polished Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony, nonetheless gives the most exciting and action-packed performance of all.
The main drawback to
Botstein's reading is his tendency to underplay climaxes, particularly those in the first movement, where he does not afford them sufficient space and amplitude (he's really stingy with the tam-tams) to make their full effect. However, he has full measure of the intricacies of Glière's orchestration, and rarely has Il'ya Murometz sounded so beguiling as it does here. Telarc's recording initially gives the impression of being diffuse and dynamically limited. But, turn up the volume (and I mean way up) and the sonic picture suddenly snaps into focus, presenting a wide and deep soundstage that transports you from your listening room to Watford Town Hall, where you can luxuriate in the London Symphony's richly colorful and powerful performance. And let's face it, if you're going to listen to this overlong, over-the-top post-romantic music, you might as well wallow in it.
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 3 in B minor, Op. 42 "Il'ya Muromets" by Reinhold Gliere
London Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1909-1911; Russia
Date of Recording: 01/2002
Venue: Watford Town Hall, England
Length: 72 Minutes 20 Secs.
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