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Notes and Editorial Reviews
A cherishable disc, with Dutoit and the Montreal orchestra giving the underperformed "Oriental Rhapsody" a sumptuous treatment, warmly expressive and brilliant.
Bringing together four popular favourites among nationalistic rhapsodies is a bright enough idea, but the masterstroke on this opulently recorded disc is to crown the sequence with a fifth piece, longer than the others, Glazunov's very rare Oriental Rhapsody. Imagine a cross between the Polovtsian Dances and Scheherazade, with plentiful echoes of both, and you will have a fair idea of how this work sounds, every bit as colourful and attractive as the better-known pieces.
In five evocative, well-contrasted movements following a clearly
defined programme, it was written in 1889, the year after Rimsky wrote Scheherazade, when Glazunov in his mid-twenties had been spending much of his time completing Borodin's Prince Igor. You might have guessed that, when the very first melody, illustrating the sleeping city, brings echoes of Borodin's 'Stranger in paradise' theme. At the very end at the height of the final Orgy it returns in glory, and my only surprise is that such a lollipop as this has been allowed to languish. I would warmly welcome it in programmes instead of the much more protracted Scheherazade. At least here Dutoit and the Montreal orchestra give it sumptuous treatment, warmly expressive and brilliant.
The richness of the sound, outstanding even by Decca's Montreal standards, wraps you round from the very start of the Liszt. As hackneyed a piece as he ever wrote, it is here made sparkling and fresh, played with all the panache you could want, defying any danger of vulgarity. It comes not in the usual arrangement but in the one by MullerBerghaus used by Toscanini and Boskovsky among others. Rightly the clarinettist Robert Crowley is individually credited, warmly imaginative in his cadenza near the start. The Dvotak, much more refined, similarly combines warmth and energy, while it is good to have the Alfven and Enescu in sequence, both full of marvellously memorable melody, heightened by brilliant scoring. What might have been just a routine offering here becomes a cherishable disc which will appeal to the widest range of collectors.
-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [5/1997]
Works on This Recording
Oriental Rhapsody, Op. 29 by Alexander Glazunov
Montreal Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1889; Russia
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Dream Disc of Rhapsodies! January 30, 2014
By bess holloway (Boulder, CO) See All My Reviews
"I was delighted to find this collection of works preserved. This is a cherished recording of mine, the one I have loaned most to friends who enjoy orchestral music. Perfection!"