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Rimsky-Korsakov: Sheherazade [Peter Oundijn, Toronto Symphony Orchestra] [Chandos: CHSA 5145] [Hybrid SACD, SACD]

Toronto Symphony Orchestra , Nikoly Rimsky-Korsakov , Peter Oundijn Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Sep 2014)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD, SACD
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B00LAN019G
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,937 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Scheherazade, Op. 35: I. The Sea and Sinbad's Ship -10:00Album Only
Listen  2. Scheherazade, Op. 35: II. The Kalender Prince -12:13Album Only
Listen  3. Scheherazade, Op. 35: III. The Young Prince and the Young Princess -10:29Album Only
Listen  4. Scheherazade, Op. 35: IV. Festival at Baghdad - The Sea - The Shipwreck12:36Album Only


Product Description

This disc marks the beginning of an new recording relationship between Chandos Records and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Conducting this performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's ever popular symphonic suite Sheherazade is Peter Oundjian, who this season celebrates his tenth year as Music Director of the Orchestra. After a recent performance of the work, the Toronto Star praised Oundjian and the 'remarkably polished' TSO for their 'élan and dynamic punch'.

Many composers have drawn inspiration from the collection of folklore known as the Arabian Nights but none has captured the imagination so vividly as Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov in Sheherazade, composed in 1888. In the story, Sheherazade escapes the murderous intent of her husband, the Sultan Schariar, by entertaining him with fascinating tales every evening for 1001 nights. Rimsky-Korsakov's four movements allude to individual episodes and images from the stories in dazzling orchestral colour.

The suite opens with a stern and strident brass theme representing the bloodthirsty Sultan. A winding melody for solo violin that returns throughout the work represents the answering voice of Sheherazade. The kaleidoscopic second movement has the character of a scherzo while the third is tender and lyrical. The finale is a boisterous and exuberant carnival, calmed by the return of Sheherazade's theme which brings the work to a serene conclusion.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little (1001) night's music 1 Sep 2014
Format:Audio CD
This recording is offered at a reduced price by Chandos, presumably to reflect the lack of another item of music, which makes the disc a little less than 60% full.

The music is well-enough known as to require no introduction, and the orchestral players acquit themselves admirably, playing the solo items with great panache. This of course includes the solo violin representing Sheherezade (or Scheherezade: I don't know why the spelling is different here). One might expect a live performance to be high on overall impact rather than carefully detailed, but my first impressions of this one were that the conductor was keeping a careful grip of his forces and perhaps losing a little of the flow of the music; either I became accustomed to it or the performance loosened up and by the conclusion I no longer had any reservations.

The 5.0 surround tracks were higher in overall volume than my average setting, and I was able to detect very few low - level coughs (that were not significant). Overall I felt the suppression of audience noise was achieved by expert multi -miking, and all sections of the orchestra were admirably clear (perhaps with the exception of the percussion, which I found a little recessed, especially the bass drum). Lower strings were gratifyingly clear, and the solo contributions from all sections appeared to me to have been assisted slightly. Again I have to commend the recording engineers for capturing a wide frequency response from the lowest double-bass notes to the highest piccolo; however I did feel the totality to sound a little 'stage-managed' rather than naturalistic.

I have enjoyed this recording, and hope to many times in the future; whereas I do not consider it to be the ultimate, it has many virtues.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "A Kaleidoscope Of Fairy Tale Images"- Rimsky Korsakov 11 Sep 2014
By Allen Cohen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This scintillating new recording of the Rimsky-Korsakov staple effortlessly ascends to the inner circle of classic versions. Maestro Oundjian demonstrates a strong affinity for this masterwork. Pacing, accenting, phrasing and balancing are all handled with aplomb. As for the members of the Toronto Symphony, their playing is impassioned, nuanced and technically rock solid. All the principals, especially the concertmaster, warrant special commendation. Don’t allow the 45 minute playing time deter you. It’s a small sacrifice for such an outstanding effort. The SA sound is every bit as good. It’s transparent and luminous. The verisimilitude of the pickup is courtesy of Sound Mirror, a leading production/recording company, here working in conjunction with Chandos.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) under Maestro Peter Oundjian offers an excellent performance. The recording quality is supe 9 Sep 2014
By E. S. Wilks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The Russian composer Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov was a Russian composer, a naval officer, and a member of the group of composers known as the Moguchaya kuchka (literally The Mighty Handful but a.k.a. The Five). He was a master of orchestration. His best-known orchestral compositions are "Capriccio Espagnol, " the "Russian Easter Festival Overture," and the symphonic suite Op. 35, which is listed in Grove's "Dictionary of Music and Musicians" as "Sheherazade" but more often spelled "Scheherazade." These works, along with suites and excerpts from some of his 15 operas, are staples of the late-Romantic music repertoire. "Sheherazade," an example of his frequent use of fairy tale and folk subjects, is based on unrelated episodes in "The Arabian Nights." The Sultan Shahriar, convinced of the faithlessness of women, had sworn to put to death each of his wives after the first night. The Sultana Sheherazade saved her own life by diverting him with stories that she told to him during 1001 nights. The Sultan, conquered by his curiosity, daily delayed her execution and finally renounced his vow.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) under Maestro Peter Oundjian offers an excellent performance. The recording quality is superb and TSO programme annotator Don Anderson's programme notes are good albeit limited to a single page. The front cover of the programme-note booklet and the programme notes themselves use the spelling Sheherazade. The back of the album offers the spelling Scheherazade; an error or a deliberate attempt to please everyone?
I hesitate to recommend this disk unreservedly for three reasons: first - a full-priced CD that contains only 45 minutes and 20 seconds of music is frankly poor value for money, especially because the competition is ferocious; second - there are several other full-priced CDs, and most offer a filler or two as well as "Sheherazade"; third - there are (at least) two budget-priced CDs that also offer a filler or two as well as "Sheherazade." If you are looking for a copy of this work, before you purchase this one try the budget-priced version - with excellent sound - by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra under Gerard Schwarz, which contains the suite from the opera "The Tale of Tsar Saltan" as a generous 20-minute filler.
Reluctant conclusion: buy this CD only if you are a devotee of the TSO or Peter Oundjian.
Ted Wilks
5.0 out of 5 stars Great CD. Prompt delivery 21 Oct 2014
By Mark R. Lundgren - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Great CD. Prompt delivery.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An orchestral jewel 3 Sep 2014
By Dean Frey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
"The centuries go by, and we are still hearing the voice of Scheherazade." Jorge Luis Borges talks about how The Arabian Nights have become part of the DNA of Western culture. "It is part of our memory," he says. In Rimsky-Korsakov's retelling of these ageless themes, the powerfully cogent arguments of 19th century music - thematic exposition, development & recapitulation, scherzo, reverie, transfiguration - become the stories that each time stave off execution. The titles supplied by the composer for each section - The Sea and Sinbad's Ship, Festival at Baghdad, and the rest - aren't important in themselves. Rimsky-Korsakov tells Scheherazade's life-or-death story by placing her voice - a beautiful theme for solo violin - in the middle of the action, and showing her success through the final taming of the savage and barbaric themes with a quiet but satisfyingly hopeful ending.

This orchestral showpiece was especially popular in the 1950s and 60s. At 40-45 minutes it just fit on two LP sides. Celebrated versions were released with the great orchestras of the day conducted by Fritz Reiner Scheherazade / Song of the Nightingale, Leopold Stokowski Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade / Leopold Stokowski Conducting The London Symphony Orchestra [London Phase 4 Stereo] [VINYL LP] and others. These tended to be full-blown, exotic, colourful and romantic interpretations. By the CD era, more analytic, cooler readings focussed on the orchestral virtuosity and rhythmic variety. Kirill Kondrashin & the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade and Charles Dutoit with the Montreal Symphony Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Op. 35; Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34 are stand-outs. The extra room on CDs almost always brought additional pieces - often the Russian Easter Orchestra or the Capriccio Espagnole, or both.

This brand-new Chandos disc shows off a revitalized Toronto Symphony Orchestra under the impressive leadership of Peter Oundjian, and the result is everything one could hope for. Instrumental playing is at the highest level - including the solo violin played, I presume, by concertmaster Jonathan Crow - and the story-telling is all under Oundjian's expansive, not-too-fussy control. The Chandos engineers provide outstanding multi-channel surround sound from the Roy Thompson Hall sessions in June 2013, and it sounds great in the standard stereo format. Forty-five minutes is short measure for a CD or album-length download, but perhaps standing alone best shows off the sparkle of this orchestral jewel.
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