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Another Excellent Bargain from Brilliant Classics
on 7 November 2013
In more than fifty years of record collecting I have never taken much notice of the music of Alexander Glazunov, knowing only the violin concerto and his ballet The Seasons. His eight symphonies were, until now, unknown territory. Now that has changed and I have discovered works that I feel I should have explored years ago. They are very attractive and well constructed, full of good tunes and very well orchestrated. It might be said that they are all from the same mould, for there is a consistency of character and substance from the first, composed when he was still in his teens, to the eighth, written about twenty years later. As you progress through them there are few surprises but most certainly a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction, such is the quality of Glazunov's writing. It is also easy to find fault with one or two of his finales, where he seems to take a long time to get to the point, as it were. But Glazunov was not alone in that, and there were greater composers who struggled with their finales without always finding an ideal solution.
These performances by Vladimir Fedoseyev and the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra were recorded between 1974 and 1982 and, to my ears at least, it is difficult to imagine anyone doing better in these works, but then I have not heard any of the other sets that are available; perhaps someone who has will write a comparative review. It seems to me that Fedoseyev and his orchestra bring out the best in these symphonies. The playing is quite superb and in many places thrilling and captivating by turn. The sound of these recordings is very good: a warm, vibrant and open acoustic which allows the detail in Glazunov's orchestration to shine through. All in all another excellent bargain from Brilliant Classics.