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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb performances and recordings make for a classic set of Rimsky-Korsakov's opera suites, 22 July 2009
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This review is from: Rimsky-Korsakov: Overture and Suites from the Operas (Audio CD)
This boxed set was, on its original release in 1984, a superb collection of orchestral music from Rimsky-Korsakov's operas; despite some strong competition in the intervening years, I think it remains so and it is definitely the first choice for this repertoire, even though it is now some 25 years old.

Neeme Järvi leads the Scottish National Orchestra in superlatively disciplined and sensitive performances. They really are at the top of their game, as evinced by the control in the sustained wind chords that open the `Christmas Eve' suite - they were, as the composer himself acknowledged, suggested by the chords that occur at the start of Mendelssohn's `Midsummer Nights Dream' Overture and like the music that inspired them, they usher in a fairytale sound world; when the soft brass and strings join, it is a moment of pure magic.

Järvi really has the measure of this music: the suite from `The Golden Cockerel' is sultry and languorous without the sensual or grotesque aspects of the score being overplayed. The suite from `Tsar Saltan' is similarly impressive: Rimsky-Korsakov, always a stern self-critic, reproached himself for repeatedly depicting the sea musically by using analogous methods but the second movement (`The Tsarina Adrift at Sea in a Barrel') here comes across as beautifully stirring and poetic - for me, it is the most entrancing track in the collection and under Järvi's baton the surging waves and appearance of the stars as night falls are wonderfully evoked.

The recorded sound is exceptionally clear - the important timpani parts in the `Christmas Eve' polonaise and in the `Procession of the Nobles' from `Mlada' have the prominence they need for their rhythmic effects to stand out; the brass instruments also ring out wonderfully and every detail of Rimsky-Korsakov's varied and often delicate string scoring is reproduced with exemplary clarity.

It is good to see these discs are still in the catalogue, even more so now they have been re-released at mid-price. It is even better to be able to report how well these recordings and performances have stood the test of time: they would be hard to equal, I think, and very difficult to beat. Heartily recommended.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unmistakable triumph and an unqualified bargain, 21 Mar 2011
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Yi-Peng (Singapore) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rimsky-Korsakov: Overture and Suites from the Operas (Audio CD)
It's great to have a marvellous set of Rimsky-Korsakov's opera suites in this marvellous two-disc set. Although Chandos originally released this superb collection of recordings as a triple-disc set, this reissue fits the contents of the original triple-disc set comfortably into a double-disc set. So this means that you can save a whole lot of money by buying this reissue as compared to buying the triple-disc set brand new on its original release. The performances are superb and Jarvi and the Scottish National Orchestra really relish the details and the felicities in these scores. In this superb reissue the collector can get an undoubted bargain in hearing the concert suites from many of his operas, and it can nicely complement any existing recording of Sheherazade. I imagine that this disc set allows you to explore more of Rimsky's fairy-tale music outside of Sheherazade and, wisely, the concert suites from the fairy-tale and fantasy operas are presented here.

Before I started listening to this set I was familiar with some of the music, including the Flight of the Bumblebee and the Christmas Eve Polonaise. However, Jarvi's performances are peerless and I think they do a superb job in these performances. Their performances of the Tsar Saltan and Golden Cockerel suites are superb, with well-chosen tempi, flair and, in the case of the Procession of the Nobles, panache. I rather like the steady pace of the opening March in the Tsar Saltan suite, and it really builds up climaxes naturally. The Snow Maiden suite comes off superbly too, because one can really hear the atmosphere in the Dance of the Birds. The Dance of the Tumblers is also given a suitably rumbustious performance here. I also like the details that they savour, such as the twinkling stars early on in the Christmas Eve suite and also the swell of the sea that accompanied the Tsarina in her barrel. In the same suite we get the added bonus of hearing the complete version of the Flight of the Bumblebee, and it's a complete plus in my book, especially when it's given a spectacular performance here. Most of the time we hear a cut version, but fortunately this recording restores a middle section that seems to have been omitted from most performances. The listener can really hear the performers revelling in the superb orchestration.

The presentation is superb with the slimline double-disc box. Chandos also remastered the sound at a higher 96kHz/24-bit resolution and the recording comes up wonderfully well. The booklet includes the Noel Goodwin liner notes from the original release. They really help you to follow the music, but I admit that there are slight inaccuracies in the paragraph about Mlada. Also, I rather like it that the suites are presented in chronological order whereas on the previous triple-disc release, Mlada and the Invisible City of Kitezh were paired on the second disc of the set, disrupting the chronological order. Another plus point in the layout of the reissue is that the Christmas Eve suite is broken up into sections, while on the previous release it was one long track.

This marvellous bargain of a classical reissue is really worth the money.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original 3 disc winning set now on two discs - unmissable, 23 April 2013
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rimsky-Korsakov: Overture and Suites from the Operas (Audio CD)
These discs, originally issued and recorded in the mid 1980's, were an inspiration and an ear-opener to all those whose knowledge of Rimsky Korsakov's music was mostly limited to Scheherazade and arrangements of Mussorgsky. I was fortunate to buy a fine Supraphon disc of the Golden Cockerel and Invisible City (wrongly titled as the Invincible City)many years before by chance and as a gamble taken by an inquisitive young musician. Right away I loved the opulence and sheer imaginative invention of the music and quickly explored further so far as the limited recordings at that time allowed.

This set of operatic suites absolutely underlines the importance of the world of fantasy, magic, mystery and far Eastern allure that is essential to Rimsky's many operas and which were a driving force of his musical imagination. They are all superbly crafted without exception and in this fine set of recordings and performances they flash and sparkle in a way that is simply not matched in any of the other recordings I have heard or owned of the works.

The combination of Jarvi, the Scottish orchestra and the recording expertise of Chandos came together in a most striking way at this time and nearly all the recordings have a life about them that mimics the excitement of 'live' performances. This set is outstanding even when set against Jarvi's achievements in Dvorak, Shostakovich and Richard Strauss from that time. The players respond to his direction with a palpable sense of thrill and exuberance that communicates most strongly.

I would suggest therefore that this set, successfully newly remastered in 2006 with 24 bit processing onto just two discs, is such a comprehensive success that it must be considered most seriously by any potential purchaser interested in the repertoire.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars R.KORSAKOV, 6 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Rimsky-Korsakov: Overture and Suites from the Operas (Audio CD)
I RUSSI SONO GRANDISSIMI MUSICISTI, E KORSAKOV E' CERTAMENTE TRA QUESTI. UNA BELLISSIMA RACCOLTA DI JARVI DELLE SUE OVERTURE CHE CONSIGLIO CALDAMENTE
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable selection, 19 April 2014
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Dr. R. S. Culbard (Northampton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rimsky-Korsakov: Overture and Suites from the Operas (Audio CD)
The two CDs contained a wide and enjoyable selection of this composer's music. The package was new and sealed as advertised and delivered on time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Rimsky-Korsakov: Overture and Suites from the Operas (Audio CD)
excellent recording
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Rimsky-Korsakov: Overture and Suites from the Operas
Rimsky-Korsakov: Overture and Suites from the Operas by N. Rimsky-Korsakov (Audio CD - 2006)
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