Rest assured, the version of the 'Ruslan & Lyudmila' overture on this record is as good as you will find anywhere else - robust, passionate and full of fire but, equally, handled with care. Indeed, all the music on this disc showcases to great effect why Mikhail Glinka is considered to be the father of Russian music... and, like so many Russian composers, who were either civil servants for whom music was an 'after work' passion, or, in the 20th Century at least, composers fending of the attentions of civil servants trying to tell them what and how to compose, he was a civil servant.
With Beethoven you sometimes feel as though there weren't enough notes in the scale for him to realize his musical ideas but with the Russian composers that were inspired by Glinka - Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin, for instance - you sometimes feel there weren't enough orchestral sounds for them to fully render the musical dramas of their imaginations...and they can blame Glinka for setting them on that artistic path because the music here clearly demonstrates his desire to wed a distinctive Russian sound to musical dramas and pictures. The two 'Spanish Overtures' presented here are good examples of this. Growing up with Russian folksongs means that Glinka had a natural disposition to thread his musical ideas together with good tunes so, rest assured again, the 'Ruslan & Lyudmila' overture is not the only catchy tune here that will really grab you. Turn the volume up a little and be swept along by the music that inspired a generation of Russian composers to create some of the finest music ever.