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Aram Khachaturian: Spartacus / Zhuraitis, Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra

Khachaturian / Bolshoi Theatre Orch / Zhuraitis
Release Date: 07/10/2012 
Label:  Melodiya   Catalog #: 1001530   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Aram Khachaturian
Conductor:  Algis Zhuraitis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is not the sort of music you’d choose for late night listening. Of course it has quiet moments, but a good bit consists of little more than an ear-splitting din, and whether or not you’ll want to endure all of it depends on your level of tolerance. This is vintage Soviet playing and conducting, ca. 1974. The performance and sonics are brash, raw, exhaustingly energetic, loud, louder, and loudest. I kept turning the volume down, but it didn’t seem to make any difference. It’s impossible to tell what exactly the “Symphonic Orchestra of the USSR Academic Bolshoi Theater” is, so let’s just assume it’s the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra and leave it at that.

The complete ballet lasts a bit over three hours, so the suites really
Read more only give a hint of the whole thing. Aside from the quality of the music, which is a matter of taste, this ballet has a serious and compelling plot that adapts to its socialist realist context without too much damage. The love music between Spartacus and Phrygia is genuinely beautiful and touching. The truth is that Khachaturian never wrote a more compelling score, for what that’s worth. This is quite a different piece from Gayne, for example, which is basically unstageable today (it’s a about a girl to saves the future of farm collectivization by snitching on her boyfriend).

The booklet is a considerable bonus. Aside from the fact that it’s folded into the paper case without anything to hold it there, it contains the best English translation to come along in quite a while. At the end of the ballet, as Phrygia mourns the loss of Spartacus, “the antique weeper women join to her weeping. This is Requiem on Hero.” And it goes on like that for eight pages. There is another complete recording of the ballet on Capriccio, but let’s face it, this one is special. It’s good to have it back, even if it’s not going to feature in your plans for daily listening.

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

Spartacus by Aram Khachaturian
Conductor:  Algis Zhuraitis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954/1968; USSR 
Date of Recording: 1974 
Notes: Complete ballet score. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Complete Score of Spartacus Offers New Delights November 19, 2012 By S. FLANIGIN (BETTENDORF, IA) See All My Reviews "For those of us who have delighted in learning the complete score of Kachaturian's Gayne, this complete score to the composer's other big ballet, Spartacus, is a treasure. It has the spirit and zest of the Monaural Gauk recording, but the 1970's stereo sound is an added plus. The sound is fairly full-ranged if a little clanging at times. This could be Melyodia's early (1974)transistor miking or just microphone placement. The performance is big and bold, and it is good to learn the new tunes and harmonies. Highly recommended for those who know and love only the excerpts recordeed (two times) by the composer himself, and extended suites." Report Abuse
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