The late Romantic operas of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov contain some of his most vibrant and colorful music: selections from The Snow Maiden, Sadko, Mlada, and Le Coq d'or have long been popular as concert fare and are performed far more frequently in the west than their parent works. For this 2011 Naxos release, Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony have provided a fine showcase for these orchestral favorites, and the suites' imaginative scoring and memorable melodies make this an enjoyable CD. Newcomers to this Russian master would do well to consider this compilation and Schwarz's previous albums of Rimsky-Korsakov's orchestral music as worthwhile introductions and good additions to any growing collection. The Seattle Symphony plays with considerable energy and flash, and the performances are imbued with exoticism and fantasy, in keeping with the legends and folk tales that are their subjects. Most listeners will recognize the bumptious "Dance of the Clowns" from The Snow Maiden and the exciting "Cortège" (also known as "The Procession of the Nobles") from Mlada. Naxos offers clear and detailed sound, yet because the dynamic range of the recording is quite wide, listeners may have to turn the volume up somewhat to fully appreciate the spaciousness of the acoustics.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|The Snow Maiden, suite|
|Suite from Mlada|
|Le Coq d'or|