Customer Reviews for: Gliere: Symphony No 3 "Il'ya Muromets" / Falletta

10 Reviews in Total
5 Star: 7 Reviews
4 Star: 2 Reviews
3 Star: 1 Review
2 Star: 0 Reviews
1 Star: 0 Reviews

Average Review

4.5 Stars (10 Reviews)

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 An Expansive Cathedral in Sound July 19, 2016
By owen  ryan (lakewood, CA) -- See All My Reviews
Five reviews ago, on May 28, I reviewed the Blu-ray iteration of this recording. My comments from then apply equally well to this CD issue. Perhaps the best description of this work comes from Falletta's CD booklet notes: ''As long as a Mahler symphony and enormous in its instrumental requirements. This work is a cathedral in sound that unfolds in breathtaking swashes of color, poetry and monumental climaxes that combine a bejewelled and ancient Russian orthodox influence with violent paganism.'' I am quite taken with this performance and give it a thumbs-up. Report Abuse

 Great way to start October 17, 2014
By James C. (Omaha, NE) -- See All My Reviews
Gliere was unfamiliar to me. The music gives me goose bumps. It doesn't get old upon repeated hearing. If you enjoy contemporary symphonic music, this should be on your want list. The performance and recording are both first rate. Report Abuse

 Excellent, but not the best in my book either July 16, 2014
By P. Ledesma (Wellington, KS) -- See All My Reviews
I enjoyed the sound quality immensely! Very well played and artistically envisioned by the fresh interpretation of this conductor, but even with the superb acoustics I haven't found one that touches Stokowski's incomparable offering. But this is definitely one worth owning! Report Abuse

 FANTASTIC FIND April 22, 2014
By Brad Dalton (Houston, TX) -- See All My Reviews
The Gliere Symphony No. 3 is a gorgeous work that encompasses a huge expanse of orchestral colors and textures……The recording is masterful precise and captures all of the flavor of the writing perfectly….A great find! Do not hesitate! Report Abuse

 One of the best April 17, 2014
By Martin H. (Gilbert, AZ) -- See All My Reviews
I am beginning to suspect that Gliere's massive symphony cannot be captured on recording. The atmospheric writing, the enormous changes in volume, the orchestral details are too vast for any current recording technology. I say this because even the newest, this one, Downes on Chandos, Botstein on Telarc, all fall short of what I want and expect. Maybe I expect too much, after all, I happily listened to Scherchen (mono), Ormandy (2 times) and others in older sound. The performance here is as good as any. Falletta doesn't drag it out like Farberman and tries to propel the behemoth along. For the most part, it works. The slow introduction is ruined by moving too quickly, the third movement is just great. The longwinded finale is good. Sound wise- turn the volume way up so the recording makes a bigger impact. I really appreciate Naxos/Buffalo/Falletta for doing this. It's not easy or inexpensive to mount something on this scale. But, I can still imagine something better: more dramatic, more thrilling, even better sound. I hold out hope that we'll get Ilya in sacd or Blu Ray from Gergiev, Bychkov, or Jarvi. This new one though, is right up near the top of the currently available versions. Report Abuse

 Very Good But Not the Best  April 13, 2014
By Reginald Jones (Hamilton, VA) -- See All My Reviews
It's always a pleasure to hear a new take on this sprawling, over-the-top work. I've owned every recording made of it and rate this near the top of the complete versions. However, neither in conductorial skill nor in sound does it match the Chandos recording with the late Sir Edward Downes and the BBC Philharmonic. Falleta's reading is very good but it lacks the flare and touch of the exotic that Downes brings to the work. And the recording can't match the depth of sound stage and technicolor splashes found on the Chandos disc. Report Abuse

 Il'ya Muromets rises again in Buffalo April 13, 2014
By ben cutler (somerville, NJ) -- See All My Reviews
Now Joanne Falletta, in her spirit of adventure, has tackled that male bastion, Reinhold Gliere’s 3rd Symphony. Well, in a word, I think this is now its best performance in stereo. The competition is pretty fierce because no one who tackles this monster of a symphony does it badly. As for the performance itself her first movement is somewhat undercharacterized. Gliere’s music often calls for over the top excess in performance. While the moments in Falletta’s first movement have excess where appropriate it is not yet all-out excess which the music literally demands. The remaining movements proceed extremely well with intense beauty challenged by plenty of excess where required. At 8:45 into the 1st movement there is a wrong chord. Ten seconds later the brass out do anyone else with their stuttering staccato passage. There are no wrong notes anywhere else in this performance that I heard. In the beginning of the 2nd movement the tremolo sul ponticello strings are drier and scarier than anyone else, even the fabled Rachmilovich and Scherchen performances. The only cavil remaining, and it is not a criticism, is that the strings in the 4th Movement fugue don’t have enough weight and bite. The Buffalo Philharmonic under Ms. Falletta’s direction play as well as anyone else in this challenging music. They are magnificent! But the program notes for this disc are painful. Accuracy means nothing! Among other things they place Ilya at Prince Vladimir’s court in the very beginning, but Gliere’s music doesn’t say that. The tale, itself, is very explicit that “Ilya sat motionless for 30 years until some wandering pilgrims stopped in front of him and said, Thou shalt a strong warrior become.” My quote is not word for word here but mirrors the original. But it is the music that is most explicit of all. To illustrate I list here the events of the first movement. 0:00 Brooding Mother Earth. Possibly also Ilya sitting motionless for 30 years, music later mirrored at the end of the symphony. 3:20 Ilya’s first theme appears, a motto theme suggesting future greatness. 4:15 Pilgrims theme, a religious chant. 6:15 Ilya awakens to his motto theme. 7:15 Ilya rides off to his second theme. This is the main theme and represents Ilya’s human virtues. 9:45 Ilya meets Sviatoslav to Sviatoslav’s noble theme in brass. 11:20 They ride off together musically using Sviatoslav’s theme. 12:50 Ilya’s 3rd theme, noble, heroic, it turns prideful in a 4th movement fanfare presaging his last battle. 13:40 Forest episode using the theme of Ilya’s humanity. 15:40 Pilgrim’s theme appears just before Sviatoslav climbs into the coffin. 18:25 Sviatoslav expires. 18:50 Ilya’s second theme leads him bravely into the future. The characterization of these themes is my own, but Gliere’s intentions are unmistakable. Prince Vladimir’s own theme does not appear anywhere until 1:15 into the 3rd movement; the banquet at his court. His theme also appears in the 4th movement during the musical remembrances which quietly follow after Ilya’s death. Listeners with a sharp ear will discover that it is the pilgrim’s theme which ultimately destroys the now prideful Ilya. Reading about all this heroic death and destruction I wonder if I have done this wonderful music an injustice. My father, a businessman, not a musician, felt that the long passage of forest music in the second movement was the most beautiful music he ever heard. And the gloriously happy music that describes Prince Vladimir’s Castle is a close second. There is much that is beautiful here and Falletta is a wonderful guide. My recommendation: buy Falletta for the music, Buy Downes or Johanos for the notes which are at least close to the original. Report Abuse

 Very good Ilya, but not the best April 5, 2014
By P Edward P. (Shoreline, WA) -- See All My Reviews
Joanne Falletta whips up excitement in this performance and scores points for nuanced phrasing, but fails to integrate this sprawling score into a coherent dramatic arc. Since I see this symphony as a "wide-screen Technicolor epic", I am looking for a large world-class virtuoso orchestra with a strong string section in state-of-the-art sound engineering. The Buffalo Philharmonic string section sound a bit undernourished in this recording. The sound is very good over the midrange and into the deep bass, but lacks the iridescence in the highs to do full justice to Gliere's colorful orchestration. For me the best sound is on Chandos (Downes, conductor) For performance, I prefer Stokowski and Ormandy who conduct the score with cuts. For the entire score Johanos is my favorite, but the sound, while okay, lacks glamour. Report Abuse

 The best Muromets yet... March 29, 2014
By James B. (Heber City, UT) -- See All My Reviews
I've owned at least three recordings of this work starting with the RCA Ormandy rendering back during the LP era. 20 years ago or so I picked up the Naxos recording with Donald Johanos which gave me more of the music than the (single) LP could. And now the Falletta version which is certified to be complete. I guess the thing about Gliere in this epic piece is that he is so approachable. The symphony was premiered in 1912 and thus was born in the midst of revolutionary upheaval. But it is a piece that would have passed muster with the Soviet censors because it is neither "new" nor 'decadent." It has none of the daring of Stravinsky (contemporary) nor of Shostakovich nor Prokofiev to come. It's not even as "different" as Mahler. So this is a nice non-revolutionary post-romantic piece. It's easy to take and a pleasant hour+ of music. This is arguably the best recording there has been -- well recorded and beautifully played. A music professor of mine once claimed that "Franz Liszt was the greatest second-rate composer of all time!!" Gliere belongs to that same club. He wrote what the Party wanted written. He received 3 Lenin Prizes and 3 Stalin Prizes mostly because he "stayed in line." Thus this piece is like a well-written soundtrack with lots on the surface. But it is not a piece that can musically compete with the great works of either Prokofiev or Shostakovich (or Stravinsky). Report Abuse

 An epic journey March 13, 2014
By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) -- See All My Reviews
Gliere's sprawling symphony takes the listener on an epic sonic odyssey. From the somber opening bars that foreshadow the arrival of the heroic Il'ya Muromets, to the closing chords where Muromets and his brave Bogatyrs knights are defeated and turned to stone, Giere weaves a tightly-constructed narrative that's both coherent and immersive. The first recording of this work was with Stokowski, who (with Gliere's permission) trimmed the work down from 70+ minutes to a svelte 38 minutes. Although it's a thrilling performance (it is Stoki, after all), it didn't do the work justice. Because Gliere's third symphony has no filler -- every note is there for a reason, and every note helps further the story. Others have recorded the complete version of this work, but somehow failed to completely communicate overarching dramatic motion of the music. There are plenty of beautifully written sections that its tempting the linger over, but just as with the organic music of Wagner and Mahler, they're most effective in context. And JoAnn Falletta understands that context. Her performance with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is one that delivered new pleasures every time I listened to it. The story for this programmatic work is quite detailed -- but you really don't need to follow it with this recording. Falletta and the BPO effectively paint each scene completely. The release is beautifully recorded, allowing the listener to hear Gliere's subtle orchestrations. A joy to listen to from start to finish. Report Abuse

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