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Orchestral Pictures from Russia


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Product details

  • Orchestra: USSR Symphony Orchestra, USSR Radio Chorus
  • Conductor: Evgeni Svetlanov
  • Composer: Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Alexander Porfir'yevich Borodin, Nikolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov, Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev
  • Audio CD (17 Jun 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Melodiya
  • ASIN: B000001HDC
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,604 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Dawn on the Moskva-River (from 'Khaovanshchina')
2. A Night on Bald Mountain
3. Hopak (from 'Sorochintsy Fair')
4. In the Steppes of Central Asia
5. Polovtsian Dances with Chorus (from 'Prince Igor') - USSR Radio Large Chor/Klavdi Ptitsa
6. Sadko, Op.5
7. Bright Holiday (Russian Easter Festival Ov, op.36)
8. Islamey
Disc: 2
1. Ov from 'Dream on the Volga'
2. Spring, Op.34
3. Romantic Intermezzo in D, Op.69
4. About Olden Times, Op.21b
5. From the Apocalypse, Op.66
6. Baba Yaga, Op.56
7. The Enchanted Lake, Op.62
8. Kikimora, Op.63
9. Nymphs

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mario on 25 Jan 2011
Il CD è un magnifico excursus nella cultura musicale russa. In Mussorsky, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov e Liadov la resa musicale è molto coinvolgente e da considerarsi ai vertici interpretativi di tali opere. Di Islamey conoscevo già la versione, peraltro molto bella, di Svetlanov. Le musiche degli altri due autori mi erano sconosciute e francamente le ho trovate non avvincenti.
Un CD, comunque, senz'altro da ascoltare per lasciarsi trasportare in quel mondo lontano fantastico e sognante che qusti autori hanno saputo così bene dipingere.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Russian sound for russian music. 2 Dec 2002
By "angelgabriel4" - Published on Amazon.com
Soviet orchestras were the only orchestras ever to properly do justice to many russian pieces in my opinion. After hearing many of the pieces on this disc, I can't help but find American or West European versions of the same works a bit bland in comparison. Extremely emotional and moving renditions.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The original Russian sound - glorious Svetlanov recordings! 20 July 2007
By AV - Published on Amazon.com
This CD set was part of a series released by BMG in the mid 90s after their licensing agreement with Russian record label MELODIYA. All CDs in the series have now been deleted (shame on BMG!). This particular title was one of the first in the series.

It is amazing that one reviewer claimed that both orchestra & conductor are 'obscure'!! Hello??? The USSR (State) Symphony Orchestra, now the Russian State Symphony Orchestra is one of the finest orchestras in Russia and the late maestro Svetlanov one of the leading and most prolific conductors of the ex-USSR. He recorded an endless list of works by a wide range of composers for various labels all over the globe.

This CD focuses on known Russian works (Night on the Bare Mountain, In the Steppes of Central Asia, Russian Easter Festival Overture etc) and some very rare Russian gems (on CD2). The recordings are typical of the golden era of MELODIYA and the Russian sound of the orchestra is unmistakable. There might be better engineered recordings of these works, but Svetlanov's magic cannot be easily surpassed. Of all the 'Steppes' I have heard, this wins hands down!

Grab a copy of this set if you come across it - an excellent 'sampler' of the art of Yevgeny Svetlanov!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic!! 9 Jun 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
A marvellous CD. Moving and a great way to be introduced to the amazing and powerful music of the Mighty Handful et al. A must buy.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great performances of delightful Russian music 28 Jan 2012
By D. R. Schryer - Published on Amazon.com
Personally, I love 19th century Russian music. And few, if any, conductors equalled Svetlanov in conducting Russian music. Therefore, I have thoroughly enjoyed this varied collection of works which presents a treasure trove of wonderful music -- including some well know works but also many other delightful works which were new to me and, I suspect will be new to other listeners as well. If you too like Russian music, please treat yourself to this delightful 2-CD set.
Some beautiful playing in this Svetlanov compilation 5 Sep 2014
By jt52 - Published on Amazon.com
Long-time Russian maestro Evgeny Svetlanov is in my opinion an uneven conductor, his work ranging from the outstanding to the average. This pattern holds true in this collection. The performances include the inspired - take Rimsky-Korsakov's "Bright Holiday", Borodin's "In the steppes of Central Asia" or Alexander Glazunov's "Spring" as illustrations - to the less successful. "Bright Holiday" is an idiomatic, musical interpretation. I will go out and say that Svetlanov's "In the steppes" is the most evocative and memorable performance of this beautiful if overplayed warhorse I have heard. Finally, "Spring" was a discovery for me; it is a serene orchestral essay lasting 10 minutes, a wonderful tone poem played with love by Svetlanov and the USSR Symphony.

The disappointments include the five short tone poems from Anatoly Liadov, a composer of first-rate talent and third-rate work ethic. Because Lyadov completed so little orchestral music, these works would be an ideal component of a set like this one. Unfortunately, Svetlanov is too enthusiastic, even overaggressive which doesn't present Lyadov's jewel-like quasi-impressionistic music in its best light. To take one example, "Page from the Apocalypse" (ominously completed in early 1914) is a disturbing, dark short work not because of the blunt brass attacks but because the dark often hushed orchestral surface only fleetingly hints at the turmoil and violence of world's end.

In between these two extremes, we have successful if not exceptional performances like Rimsky-Korsakov's "Sadko", Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" and Borodin's Polvetsian Dances. Also included are some turn-of-the-20th-century works that were once better known, such as Anton Arensky's "Dream on the Volga" overture, Vassily Kalinnikov's "Nymphs" (which I believe is the wrong piece to have pulled from the 1990 Svetlanov session devoted to this talented composer) and Balakirev's "Islamey", the Balakirev being the only track in the set done live.

Some data: the performances range from 1963 for one of the Mussorgsky tracks, to several from later in the 1960s ("In the steppes" and "Sadko") and 1970s (the Lyadov, the other Mussorgsky and Borodin as well as "Bright Holiday"), a couple from the 1980s ("Islamey" and the Arensky overture) and concluding with some 1990 recordings (the Glazunov and Kalinnikov). The sound quality varies. The Glazunov and Kalinnikov feature probably the best sound, with "Bright Holiday" also presented very well. I thought "In the steppes" and "Sadko", which date from the 1960s, actually sound better than some of the 1970s tracks, such as "Night on Bald mountain" and the Polovetsian Dances. The Lyadov set has somewhat blunt sound not well-suited for the music. It's worth mentioning that on my copy the end of disc 1 has a manufacturing error.

I'm glad I own this collection both for the three exceptional performances I pointed to and also because it handily contains some other famous music overall played well. A worthwhile set.
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