About this release
One of the 20th century's great interpreters, Evgeny Svetlanov initially trained as a pianist-composer before being appointed principal conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre Symphony Orchestra in 1962 and the USSR State Symphony Orchestra in 1965. The latter post was held for 35 years, a period which saw the ensemble become famed for its unique 'Russian' sound. Then, two years before his death in 2002, Svetlanov was sensationally fired from his position by the Minister of Culture. The reason? Too much time spent abroad and too little time spent in Moscow.
Scratching the surface of an extraordinary number of recordings made by the conductor, this release is based on various live performances dating from between 1960 and 1983. Svetlanov was particularly renowned for his commitment to the orchestral works of his homeland (a fact which makes his famous expulsion from one of the country's top cultural positions even sadder), and the issue presents a feast in its compiling of such music; after hearing two of Borodin's neglected symphonies, Nos. 1 and 3, we are introduced to several compositions by Glazunov before encountering the little-known figures of Dargomïzhsky and Balakirev. The collection then draws to a close with two of Rimsky-Korsakov's least performed suites: assembled from their respective operas, The Snow Maiden and Pan Voyevoda were once national favourites.
This 3CD set is not to be passed up. In combining Svetlanov's championing of late-Romantic works with a highly individual school of playing, it offers a unique insight into the musical heritage of Russia and bursts with ineffable expression and shattering climaxes. A must-buy.
New Russian Archives:
This second wave of 3-CD sets drawn from the rich catalogue of the Russian Archives presents legendary Russian musicians in works of their compatriots. Russians will always tell you that only they can understand the Russian Soul in Russian music, so who are we to contradict them? Listen to the glowing and noble Tchaikovsky of Mravinsky, the enervating and passionate Rachmaninoff of Svetlanov, the deep insight into Shostakovich's world of Barshai (world premiere of the 14-th symphony), the famous Piano Sound of the Russian Piano School in Emil Gilels' hands: unique testimonies of a unique era in Western music history! As proof against the bias that Russians can only play Russian music Yevgeny Kissin shows himself a true master in Chopin and Liszt.
- Recordings made between 1960 and 1983.
- Includes booklet notes about the music and a biography of Mravinsky.
- Part of Brilliant Classics' Historical Russian Archives series. Previous releases include the Barshai Edition (9010), Rozhdestvensky Edition (9019) and Gauk Edition (9146).