Rimsky-Korsakov's orchestral genius shines through in his colourful operatic suites, and that from his final opera Le Coq d'or is richly dramatic and expressive. The complicated folk-based story of the Snow Maiden is simplified into four enchanting movements, and that of Sadko into a single, radiantly descriptive tone-poem. The thrilling legend of Mlada is represented by vivid dances and a final Cortège. Gerard Schwarz's recording of Rimsky-Korsakov's Sheherazade (8.572693) with the Seattle Symphony was described as 'absolutely terrific'. (ClassicsToday.com)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Years ago, I took the online quiz "Which Dead Russian Composer Are You?" (Try it for yourself at [...]) I had hoped to be Prokofiev, but I'm not passionate enough about chess. Moussorgsky? Not a chance. Much as I enjoy a good drink, vodka simply isn't the answer to everything. No, I was Rimsky-Korsakov--the pedantic professor, government bureaucrat (Inspector of Bands), and one-hit wonder (Scheherazade). This was hardly the result I had hoped for. And yet, when I hear something as stunning as the "Procession of the Nobles" from Mlada, I'm delighted to be associated with this underrated master.
All the music on this disc is magnificent, but Gerard Schwarz's performances are disappointing. Schwarz is a first-rate interpreter of American music, as demonstrated by his excellent recordings of symphonies by David Diamond, Howard Hanson, and especially Alan Hovhaness. But he's less persuasive in the standard repertory and hardly more compelling here.
Nikolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (NRK) was both a composer and an officer in the Russian navy. He became a key member of the famous group called the "Moguchaya Kuchka" (Mighty Handful), whose aim was to follow in Glinka's footsteps and create a distinctly Russian school of music instead of adhering to traditional European musical conventions. The group was formed in St. Petersburg before the foundation of the St. Petersburg Music Conservatory in 1862 by Anton Rubinstein. NRK's appointment as professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1871 upset some members of the "Moguchaya Kuchka." Borodin welcomed it, but the others - Cui, Musorgsky (spelled thus in Grove Music), and especially Balakirev - opposed it because they were fiercely anti-conservatory. For NRK, however, it provided a secure income. Eventually, he became one of Russia's most prominent and beloved nineteenth-century Russian composers. In addition to symphonies, orchestral tone poems, and songs, NRK...
Who said that the empire called Rusia was made of one casted prototype. In current performances we find a spectrum of colors and tastes intermingling beautifully into a long-forgotten culture of the dreamers. Rimsky-Korsakov has a very fine talent of telling legendary stories and transferring their visual asset into acoustic pleasures. Great Symphony orchestra + great conductor produce a masterpiece.
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