Notes and Editorial Reviews
Recording with Chandos for the first time, this album marks the beginning of a new partnership with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. A regular presence in concert halls throughout the US and Canada, this recording also comes as the TSO embarks, in August, on its first European tour since 2000 under the baton of Peter Oundjian, who this year celebrates his tenth anniversary as Music Director. He also conducts in this performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s ever-popular symphonic suite Sheherazade.
Many composers have drawn inspiration from the collection of folklore known as the Arabian Nights but none has captured the imagination so vividly as Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov in Sheherazade, composed in 1888. In the story, Sheherazade escapes the murderous intent of her husband, the Sultan Schariar, by entertaining him with fascinating tales every evening for 1001 nights. Rimsky-Korsakov’s four movements allude to individual episodes and images from the stories in dazzling orchestral colour.
The suite opens with a stern and strident brass theme representing the bloodthirsty Sultan. A winding melody for solo violin that returns throughout the work represents the answering voice of Sheherazade. The kaleidoscopic second movement has the character of a scherzo while the third is tender and lyrical. The finale is a boisterous and exuberant carnival, calmed by the return of Sheherazade’s theme which brings the work to a serene conclusion. -
"Both conductor and orchestra make a very positive impression in Sheherazade. Oundjian shapes the music with passion and affection and pulls off some powerful climaxes. He is not afraid to go all out when the music requires it. But Oundjian is also a man who attends to details. The precision of the playing is first-class.
Rimsky’s score abounds in virtuoso opportunities for principle players in the orchestra and it is a joy to hear the TSO musicians show off. It is the concertmaster who gets the most opportunities and Jonathan Crow clearly demonstrates why he is such an asset to the orchestra..." - Paul E. Robinson,