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Glazunov Complete Concertos

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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  • Performer: Rachel Barton Pine, Alexander Romanovsky, Wen-Sinn Yang, Marc Chisson, Alexey Serov
  • Conductor: José Serebrier
  • Composer: Alexander Glazunov
  • Audio CD (21 Feb. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: CLASSICAL
  • ASIN: B004HARLC4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,864 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product description

WEA 2564679465; WEA ITALIANA - Italia; Classica Orchestrale per violino

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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb evening of romantic classical music 22 May 2011
By Virginia music lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Two reviewers already have given detailed reviews of these CDs. I wanted to add a generalized review, one focusing on "mood." This is the type of album one puts on while sipping on some fine red wine and relaxing. It is not music for a dark mood, but rather one for a "life is good" mood. The orchestra is sonorous, and so are the soloists. I want to single out Rachel Pine, who clearly is going to be much more famous than she is now. I have heard her once live, and she has all the goods -- her technique is so good that one does not notice difficulties in the score. And her tone is warm; there are no brittle edges anywhere. Her violin is rather noteworthy. Brahms specifically chose this Guarneri, the ex-Soldat, for a favorite playing partner of his. Pine's website gives the details. rock.rachelbartonpine.com/bio_violins.php
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serebrier continues on with his idiomatic approach in his Glazunov, and with some wonderful artistic supports by all involved. 26 April 2011
By David Anthony Hollingsworth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Time and time again does Jose Serebrier proves himself a great, probing Glazunovian. As I said in reviewing his recordings of the composer's symphonies, there are the freashness, revelatory, thought-provoking aspects in his overal approach that make his cycle the most absorbing one to date: the way he molds the sometimes flat and routine ideas that brings greater senses of life and vitality and raises the good, even great ideas to heights that even shook me (in the Third & Sixth Symphonies for instances). Those qualities are of great presence here. And as I said in reviewing Glazunov's piano sonatas performed by Martin Cousins (in his rewardingly deep, subconscious manner), this composer, though obstinate in his traditonal values on music, had a number of tricks up his sleeves (and in ways that are stylish, worldly, and classy). There are no exceptions here, and the more I listen to say, his First Piano Concerto, the more does Glazunov's ingenuity becomes apparent. Needless to say, the marriage between composer and conductor is as perfectly ideal as it has been in this ongoing journey.

And it helps to have orchestras with the verve, sonority, flexibilty, and blend that give the composer's sound world its full, unadulterated glory. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra had been featured in the symphonies and its accomplishments in the cycle speaks volumes, literally. For this album though, the Russian National Orchestra (RNO) is featured, and it leaves me no wonder why it is a world class ensemble. The strings are rich in tone and body and the woodwinds have its Slavic, characterful fervor that reminds me of the old days when the Melodiya LPs were around. The brass is ideally imposing and deep sounding (particularly in the Concerto Ballata and the First Piano Concerto) and the percussion department is simply excellent and alert. But what I find entrancing is how modishly sounding the RNO is, as though its players are allowed their own personalities to shine through and dictate the sound. In other words, it's the blend of the orchestra that is wonderful, essentially because it does not have a corporate feel to it. This is particularly true of its performance of the Saxophone Concerto where the strings has an admirable trendy sound that's full of expressiveness and enjoyment. And of course alto saxophonist Marc Chisson helps lead the way with his idiosyncratic approach to the score that has sparkle, ebullience, and at times grittiness (which is befitting since Glazunov admired Jazz, as he expressed in a newspaper interview upon his visit to the United States in 1929).

And this is a very fine assembly of the soloists featured here. As mentioned above, Chisson is praiseworthy, while Alexey Serov is mesmerizing in the Reverie. That said, Rachel Barton Pine is definitely an up and coming star in her own right. And she is also a hell of a scholar. In her recordings of the Brahms and Joachim Violin Concerti (Cedille records), rarely did I read an essay by a soloist that is so deeply analytical on the works he or she performs. And it shows in that great 2-cd album. Her musicianship has the explorative quality to it that, while hardly flashy, is deep, expressive, and sensitive. Her Glazunov fits that mode nicely: not so volatile, but not inhibited either. The tone is beautiful and full of warmth, like that of Aaron Rosand in VOX. And yet Pine's playing flows as Oscar Shumsky's in Chandos. In short, it sings, and Serebrier's take, though it leans on the brisk side at times (the coda quite thrilling here), is the ideal partner. How dramatic and sharp-edged is he and the orchestra are in tempo I's climax @ 1:22. Pine's take of the Méditation on the second disc, meanwhile, is a pure wonder.

On the two piano concerti, Alexander Romanovsky is a fine interpreter. How beautiful, sweet, and autumnal is he in the Second Concerto: balletic in feel and suave (the second movement is quite breathtakingly poetic). His take on the First Concerto is likewise admirable and narrative and as in the Second Concerto, the orchestra's support is huge here, with, interestingly enough, some of the most cinematic, once upon a time feel of expression that sticks to memory. And Serebrier coaxes Glazunov's brand of warm symphonism euphoniously. That said, the piano (or the playing, or both) is in need of greater projection and intensity one finds in Maneli Pirzadeh's comparatively more eloquent rendition in her Chandos album. The recording may be the blame for this, for the sound is a tad diffused and the piano sounds overwhelmed at tuttis. The cello works are very well served, however. Like Raphael Wallfisch (Chandos), Wen-Sinn Yang is soul searching and deep in Chant du Ménestrel (the tone that swells the melancholy arrestingly). In the Concerto Ballata, he plays the work with plenty of color and vitality, going around some of the discursive pages with a marvelous sense of imagination, invention, and aplomb. Serebrier's warm yet roll-licking approach helps enormously with superb support by the RNO.

As alluded to above, the recording does not always differentiate the details of Glazunov's often garish or dense textures in the best possible light. But the sound is full and penetrating, nevertheless. Meanwhile the presentation (including brief biographies of Serebrier, the soloists, and the RNO) is quite excellent. So, with this album that represents many of the best qualities in Glazunov's overall oeuvre, the partnerships amonst everyone involved in this encompassing, enterprising project could hardly be more ideal.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glazunov Complete Concertos: Completely Enjoyable. 3 Jun. 2011
By Digital Chips - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Jose Serbrier's taken some time off from his recording cycle of the Glazunov symphonies to do this two-disc set of the Russian composer's concerti. Being well-familiar with Glazunov's works, he leads the Russian National Orchestra (who have an affinity for music by their native sons) in a series of well-defined, sympathetic performances of these works.

Glazunov composed concerti for a variety of instruments, so there's a host of soloists featured as well. Chronologically, Glazunov straddles the beginning of the 20th Century. He studied under Rimsky-Korsakov, and mentored Dmitri Shostakovich.

His first piano concerto (1911) is full of rich, romantic-era orchestration, and sounds somewhat like Rachmaninov's first concerto, composed around the same time. By the second, though, (1917) Glazunov had a more distinctive compositional voice. Pianist Alexander Romanovsky plays with fire and conviction without pushing the solos into theatrical pyrotechnics.

For me, the Violin Concerto (1904) is the crowning jewel. Rachel Barton Pine brings out the warmth of the melody, lightly skipping around the technical passages without breaking a sweat. If you like the Brahms concerto and haven't heard this work, you're in for a treat.

Also included are Glazunov's cello and saxophone concerto. Like the violin concerto, his work for cello exudes late-romantic lushness with just a hint of Glazunov's Russian origins. Of more interest, though is the Concerto in E-flat major for alto saxophone and string orchestra.

Written just two years before his death in 1936, the concerto shows Glazunov at his most adventurous. It may have been his maturity as a composer, but I also think it was the still-new saxophone's lack of repertoire and performing traditions. It gave Glazunov a blank slate in which he wrote as free of the influence of his mentors and peers as he ever got. It's a very appealing, although somewhat different work, then the other pieces on this recording.

Serebrier rounds out the recording with some short works for solo instruments and orchestra. For those of us who are familiar with Glazunov, it's instructive to hear these works one right after the other. For not familiar with this Russian master, this disc is a great place to start.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glazunov Complete Concertos 25 May 2011
By E. S. Wilks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This 2-CD album, entitled "Glazunov Complete Concertos" is well worth having, if only because all his concertos are indeed available in one album; previously, most (and perhaps all) of these works were available on various CDs, but to collect the complete set previously one would presumably have had to purchase many CDs, and perhaps been obliged to acquire other works in which one was not interested - such are the hazards of buying CDs.
The orchestra plays very well under Jose Serebrier's expert conducting, and the recorded sound is very good. The "star" soloist of the collection is the violinist Rachel Barton Pine, whose recordings should by now be familiar to many music-lovers. I confess that the names of the other soloists were unknown to me, but I have no quarrel with their interpretations of the works.
Recommended for lovers of Glazunov's concertos who want all of these works in one album.
Ted Wilks
4.0 out of 5 stars First Choice 7 Jun. 2013
By gtra1n - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Yes, I'm splitting hairs. These are as consistently fine performances of the Glazunov concertos as you will hear, but I cannot in good conscience give five stars to the pieces, which are nicely crafted but not in the top rank of the classical tradition. the lies on the tuneful, polite side of musical Romanticism, the passion never flies off the handle, the sentiments lean towards the companionable. His most famous piece here is the Concerto in E flat major for Alto Saxophone, but the best is the Piano Concerto No. 2 in B major, Op. 100, which has a drier emotional quality and flows smoothly. Excellent playing from all the musicians who almost make you believe that this is profound music. It can be quite good, but it's not profound. If you enjoy Glazunov, this is the set to own.
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