The last three symphonies by Pjotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky are classic examples of the Russian symphonic tradition. However, although these works definitely contain Russian elements, the critics who claim that Tchaikovsky was first influenced and moulded by the German and French styles are certainly correct. The truly Russian style was not so much developed by Tchaikovsky as by the composers of the so-called “Mighty Handful” (or the “Mighty Five”). Michael Glinka staged the first Russian folk drama with his opera Ivan Susanin and astonished the audience in St. Petersburg at the première. The work was labelled “coachman’s” music, yet although the term was intended as an insult, Glinka felt highly flattered: “This was excellently phrased, and even very true; for, in my opinion, coachmen are smarter than the aristocracy”. And that provided the upbeat to a new musical movement, in which folk music would form the basis for the music written for the opera and the concert hall. To quote Glinka again: “The people create the music, and we composers simply arrange it”.
Total time: 01:06:06
|Original Recording Format|
Roger de Schot, Erdo Groot
DZZ Studio 5, Moscow
|Recording Type & Bit Rate|
|Release Date||August 14, 2015|
It’s hard to imagine more delightful showpieces than Scheherazade and Capriccio espagñol, two dazzling masterworks by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov that are among his most popular creations. Carlo Ponti’s exceptional conducting, the Russian National Orchestra’s sumptuous playing, and PentaTone Classic’s fantastic Multichannel DSD sound combine to make this a dream DSD recording for any audiophile and a great demo for anyone who wants to show off high-end audio equipment.
But beyond the obvious advantages of this package in terms of performance and recording excellence, the music itself is the biggest draw. Scheherazade is a symphonic suite based upon the “1,001 Arabian Nights,” and Rimsky-Korsakov employed all of his orchestral ingenuity to create this richly imaginative score, regarded by some as the composer’s best purely instrumental work.
Capriccio espagñol is a tour de force of sparkling colors and melodies redolent of Spain, and it has been a hit with audiences ever since its premiere in 1887. To fill out the rest of the program, Ponti has included the jaunty Neapolitan Song, which Rimsky-Korsakov arranged on “Funniculì, Funniculà.” This superb album is highly recommended. 5-Star Rating.
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