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on 27 February 2011
This is a fantastic record of russian music by Kiril Kondrashin. Kondrashin is one of my favorite conducters, and this is one of my favorite records with him. It has been one of my favorite LPs for more than twenty years, and it is very nice to have it on cd as well. Kondrashin has a fantastic way of bringing the orchester to live in your living room, and in the Masquerade Suite by Khachaturian he is at his best. The rest of the cd is also very fine. If your like Kondrashin, I can also recommend his recordings of Scheherazade and the complete symphonies of Shostakovich.
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on 23 January 2012
I must disagree with Mr Cull in his estimate of the recorded sound in these magnificent performances by Kondrashin. On my audio equipment it is one of the finest in the RCA "Living Stereo" series. All four recordings, made in the ballroom of the Manhattan Centre, New York City,in 1958,come alive with thrilling presence and orchestral colour. I frequently use this CD - especially the Tchaikovsky and Khachaturian items - for demonstration purposes. For me the engineering of Lewis Layton is superb.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 June 2016
This is another magnificent CD remastering original recordings from RCA’s Living Stereo series. The sound is very good, the performances totally convincing and the programme an eclectic mix of Russian 19th and 20th century music.

In 1978 Kiril Kondrashin, 1914-81, was appointed permanent guest conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra after defecting from his homeland. Earlier he led the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. A personal friend of Shostakovich, he knew and worked with other composers of the Soviet period. The Khachaturian and Kabalevsky works were recorded in October 1958, the day after the other two works.

The orchestral playing by members of the ‘RCA Victor Orchestra’ embodies vigour and panache. If one had to make a judgement it would be that the two capriccios show the orchestra at its finest and most thrilling with the virtuosic ensemble and solo playing [Oscar Shumsky plays the violin in the Masquerade Suite]. The original Living Stereo sound recording and its remastering is clean and clear, Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio italien is irresistible and by far the best recording of this sparkling work.

Kabalevsky’s The Comedians, written for a play staged by the Central Children’s Theatre of Moscow in 1938, has none of the overtones of that fateful period. Rather its ten movements are filled with joy, humour and high spirits, with a significant Russian flair. Khachaturian’s Suite, written in 1939 for a Moscow performance of Lermontov’s tragedy, emphasises Russian elegance underpinned by atmospheric brooding and frivolity. With impassioned ‘Russian’ playing of this standard one wishes that the CD lasted longer than its 64 minutes.

The illustrated leaflet is excellent, with essays on the works of the Soviet composers by Louis Biancolli and the capriccios by Vincent Sheean, a biographical sketch of the conductor and a detailed technical description of ‘The History of Living Stereo’. Highly recommended.
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on 31 May 2013
A Russian conductor plays Russian music. Success garanteed ! If you add the very good orchestra, and the clear, dynamic sound, you have a record to enjoy !
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on 27 October 2015
An excellent digitally remastered recording of a classic analogue RCA " Living Stereo" recording which was originally issued on vinyl LP. The quality of sound, considering stereo sound was in its infancy at this time (1958/59, RCA recorded their first in February 1954), is true testament to the dedication of those pioneering engineers! All the pieces, particularly Khachaturian Masquarade and Tchaikovsky Capricio Italien allow me to imagine that I have a live orchestra in my living room. I hadn't heard of the conductor, but according to the programme notes, he had a good reputation at that time. The RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra, usually associated with conductors, Joseph Kripps and Alfred Wallenstein, who both recorded on this label with the pianist, Artur Rubinstein, played in a truly professional way under the direction of Kirill Kondrashin. Suffice to say, I was very pleased with this. A good buy and highly recommended!
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on 31 December 2015
Recommended recording - just as required.
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on 19 March 2013
A lively selection of orchestral pieces by Khachaturian, Kabalevsky, Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. Performed with panash and style by the RCA Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Kiril Kondrashin. Well recorded.
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on 18 March 2011
This is well played and nicely done, BUT, do not expect wide ranging audio from this recording. I am disappointed at the (for it's time) shallow sound. I have heard much better recordings from this era, so I reluctantly must register this advice. I have other performances by K Kondrashin that are better recorded.
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