I don't think I've ever heard of Karayev, but a review of this CD in a recent issue of Gramophone suggested it would be an inexpensive gamble, and they were right.
Karayev was a pupil of Shostakovich and that helped sell the idea to me. You can certainly hear the teacher's influence here but Karayev's ideas, flavoured with his native country's folk melodies, stand up for themselves.
I've listend to The Seven Beauties several times now. Each track is fairly short but they are not insubstantial pieces that you get the impression could have proved to be the source of much longer symphonic movements.
As other reviewers have said, these are memorable and attractive works. The first two tracks of The Seven Beauties and the final March are superb - they seem familiar so maybe I've heard them somewhere before. The opening track is a stunning waltz (a touch of Prokofiev in there I think) and it's hard not to see the ballet taking place in your head.
In short, a delightful 70 minutes or so of music that you'll be humming for some time after. I can't recommend it highly enough.
For around £7 this is a great reminder of the stirling job Naxos have been doing this past few decades in bringing excellent performers and performances to a wide audience at bargain prices. They're never better when presenting relatively unknown pieces like this and giving them an outing.
They also have a recording of Karayev's third symphony in the catalogue, so that's about to be added to my collection.
on 20 December 2014
Having heard Dmitry Yablonsky conduct the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at a live concert recently I was interested to see if they had recorded anything together. With Dmitry Yablonsky being Russian I wasn't surprised to see that he had recorded some Russian repertoire including Rachmaninov and another Russian composer Kara Karayev. I decided to give it a go as I do like a lot of Russian composers and when the RPO is involved you know it is going to be very good indeed. The only piece I knew was the opening Waltz from the first work on this CD The Seven Beauties - Ballet Suite, which is very enjoyable to listen to along with its other two movements. The other Ballet Suite No.2 The Path Of Thunder is much in the same style with its driving rhythms and is played with real gusto by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra recorded for NAXOS in 2012.
on 22 October 2014
this piece of music I first heard on a 10" Supraphon LP purchased in East Berlin whilst serving with HM forces in West Berlin in 1956. It is thanks to Naxos and their policy of promoting lesser known Composers that this piece of music is now available to a younger generation of classical music enthusiasits.Lets hope that Naxos continue to explore this field of music.If they get to read this might I suggest Otmar Gershter as another source of interesting compositions.Little did I hope that at age 78 I would ever hear a superb CD recording of this work, maybe not a masterpiece, but well worth the very modest price. Three cheers for Naxos.