I've caught bits of these symphonies invariably when having to dash out or answer the phone. He turns up occasionally on mid-afternoon radio play. Why he is not more highly regarded and played live much more outside Russia baffles me. In a few seconds you can discern extraordinary powers of invention within the form, a hell of a melodic gift and wonderful orchestration. Much that forshadows Ravel, Prokofiev and Shosta. Having succumbed to drink in mid-life he was perhaps not his own best advocate, but all the more brilliant that he continued to generate music of such integrity and warmth. The performances here have their occasional rough edges but are done in long takes and with a lot of love. Enjoy.
Yes, of course I knew the name Glazunov - he wrote the "other" Seasons. But that was all I knew of him. Then Amazon sent me info about a CD set of his symphonies. Symphonies? Glazunov wrote symphonies? Be honest, how many of you would have had the same reaction? I've stopped buying CDs so I went to look for an MP3 alternative and here it was. All eight symphonies for £5.99. Well, just how risky could a purchase at that price be? All the reviews were all complimentary, so I took the chance and I am so glad that I did. The music is glorious, the conducting and playing are full of vibrancy, colour and emotion. The music is Russian, and so is the way it is played on these recordings. Anyone who loves the Tchaikovsky symphonies (especially the first three) will feel completely at home with these. I only bought them three days ago but already I've played them through completely half-a-dozen times. Wonderful, wonderful music - and I didn't even know it existed until a few days ago.
I had heard of Glazunov, but knew virtually nothing about him. Seeing the CD in the listing on my Cloud Player at £2.79 and having listened to a couple of samples, I thought that I would take a risk on it. It proved to contain some superb music and I have already played it through several times. £2.79 very well spent in my view.
I believe that the work of Alexander Glazunov has suffered the same fate as that of many other composers, artists & sculptors when being transposed into Western society and being subjected to the commercial aspects governing Western cultures notions of buying what everyone else has, rather than actually appreciating bits of genius. Popularity being somehow linked to artistic expression is so misleading and has nothing to do with it whatsoever. Listen to this album if you aren't already familiar with his work. I think you may be very pleasantly surprised.It is wonderful.
Despite having a large classical collection, for some reason Glazunov never crossed my threshold. I bought this simply because it was cheap, and have thoroughly enjoyed it. He's not in the top rank of composers, but well worth the investment. Curiously, the week after I bought it, Glazunov was "Composer of the Week" on BBC Radio 3, so I listened to all the programmes illustrating his life. Will be spending more time in his company. Only playing the music through relatively inexpensive headphones, so cannot comment on sound quality, but all seems fine to me.