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Svetlanov - Rimsky-korsakov, Scriabin / Ussr State So


Release Date: 06/24/2003 
Label:  Bbc Legends   Catalog #: 4121   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-KorsakovAlexander Scriabin
Performer:  John Georgiadis
Conductor:  John GeorgiadisYevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony OrchestraUSSR State Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Holy cow! A BBC "Legend" actually worthy of the name! There have been a few--some fine piano recitals (Richter, Michelangeli) or that Giulini Verdi Requiem--but basically it's been the very worst of Barbirolli plus one dreary air-check after another of works the same artists did better in the studio. Many were not even taken from the BBC archives but from dismal-sounding "private" (i.e., "pirate") sources. Here's an exception, an astounding tribute to the late Evgeny Svetlanov in two works he recorded several times each--but never better than here. How this gem escaped IMG Artists' heedless clutches we'll probably never know. Could it be that someone actually
Read more listened to it and was impressed by its musical greatness? Or did Svetlanov's timely death trigger some morbid reflex? Never mind: now we have it, and you simply must hear it.


Svetlanov's view of Scheherazade always emphasized the music's exoticism and voluptuousness, never more so than in his 1979 studio recording for EMI with this very orchestra. But whereas that performance took these characteristics to an extreme that sometimes lapsed into languor, this live effort from the same period has all of the sexiness of the studio production, but with far more excitement, dynamic range, contrast, and richness of detail. The sonics--from the Royal Festival Hall--are excellent by any standard and are considerably more "present" than EMI's, giving timpani and winds added presence and the percussion greater impact. An occasional cough is the only sign that there's an audience present; they are very well-behaved indeed.


After John Georgiadis' gently seductive portrait of the heroine, Svetlanov launches The Sea and Sinbad's Ship very quietly and gently--but watch out! From this subdued opening he builds the music to a surging climax, inspiring the LSO to play with the 100 percent commitment and huge dynamic contrasts that we typically expect from Russian orchestras but seldom hear elsewhere. The Story of the Kalendar Prince also begins at a relaxed pace, and the oboe's solo turns a touch sour; but Svetlanov leads an amazingly effective accelerando into the orchestra's full statement of the principal tune. Indeed, his control of tempo and transition in this movement is little short of amazing. The Young Prince and the Young Princess displays to perfection the art of rubato in a luscious Romantic context, while in the finale Svetlanov pulls out all the stops at a scorching tempo, with stunning brass and strings and a volcanic final shipwreck. The quiet ending enshrines pure poetry in sound. This is a truly great performance that will have you listening to this warhorse with fresh ears.


This performance of Scriabin's Poem of Ecstasy also is Svetlanov's best. Recorded a decade earlier with the conductor's own USSR State Symphony Orchestra, it's neither as crude and sonically challenged as his Melodiya version (though not as well recorded as the Rimsky-Korsakov coupling) nor as slow (by some four minutes) as his final recording for Canyon Classics. It's great fun to listen to the last three minutes or so to see who's going to win: the sonic black-hole acoustic of the Royal Albert Hall, or Svetlanov and his crack ensemble. Suffice it to say that Svetlanov wins, and it's worth the price of the disc merely to hear the crescendo that he makes on the final chord. The audience goes nuts at the end, and who can blame them? You might go just as nuts in your listening room, and be equally justified. Don't hesitate: grab this now. You can thank me later.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Mlada: Suite - Procession of the nobles by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Conductor:  John Georgiadis,  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1968 
Venue:  Live  London, England 
2. Scheherazade, Op. 35 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  John Georgiadis (Violin)
Conductor:  John Georgiadis,  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1968 
Venue:  Live  London, England 
3. Symphony no 4, Op. 54 "Poem of ecstasy" by Alexander Scriabin
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905-1908; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1978 
Venue:  Live  London, England 

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