A close friend of Rimsky-Korsakov who helped to complete many of Borodin’s works and who later became Director of the St Petersburg Conservatory, Glazunov is one of those composers whose name repeatedly crops us but whose music still remains relatively unknown to many listeners. His symphonies, spread out here across four CDs, reveal the developing style of a man who was effectively responsible for reconciling Russianism and Europeanism and who represented a stabilising influence in a time of transition and turmoil; after the first two contributions, works that bear the heavy influence of the Nationalist school and the epic grandeur of Borodin in particular, lyrical passages and lengthy developments start to dominate – especially in the Sixth Symphony, considered by Rimsky-Korsakov to the high point of Glazunov’s achievement and whose second movement recalls the expansiveness of Brahms. The cycle ends with the composer’s Eighth Symphony, written during the tumultuous period of the February Revolution and whose stark opening Mesto movement and dark, unsettling Allegro show a depth of emotion previously unattained, reflecting in part the troubled times they were composed in.
Who better to perform these works than one of Russia ’s most prestigious orchestras, the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio? The ensemble has recorded widely over the years and traditionally participates in the legendary international Tchaikovsky competition; these recordings date from 1974, the year acclaimed conductor Vladimir Fedoseyev assumed leadership, to the early 1980s.
- Live recordings made between 1974 and 1982 in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.
- Alexander Glazunov was one of the most important Russian romantic composers, but didn’t belong to the “Mighty Handful” or “The Five”, whose strongly nationalistic tendencies he respected, but did not embrace. Glazunov’s music is of “western” charm, lyricism and inner passion. His symphonies, still somewhat neglected in favour of those of his compatriot Tchaikovsky, are brilliantly orchestrated and full of sweeping romantic grandeur, a true discovery for those not acquainted with these Russian master pieces!
- Played with Russian passion and drive by the Russian Tchaikovsky Orchestra conducted by veteran Vladimir Fedoseyev.
- Booklet covers each of the works and provides detailed notes on the composer.