Gennady Rozhdestvensky

Borodin: Symphonies

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Borodin: Symphonies Review

by James Leonard

For anyone looking for one and only one complete collection of Alexander Borodin's three symphonies, this two-disc set with Gennady Rozhdestvensky directing the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic shouldn't be the one and only. It's not that the Swedes don't play with tremendous power and heartmelting passion. They do: listen to the Second's closing Allegro. And it's not that Rozhdestvensky doesn't conduct with immense energy and complete understanding. He does: listen to the First's central Andante. And it's surely not that the sound recorded by Chandos in the mid-'90s and released here by Brilliant in 2007 is anything less than thrilling. It is: listen to the tympani in the Third's opening movement. It's that the conductor has slightly but noticeably retouched the scores -- mostly crossing out occasional wind or brass doublings or giving an especially lyrical line to a solo string rather than the whole section -- and while these retouchings make these performances a bit clearer and a tad more affecting, they also make them less than wholly authentic. Also, it should be added that the inclusion of excellent performances of Glazunov's orchestrations of Borodin's Petite Suite and Polovtsian Dances is entirely appropriate -- but that the inclusion of charming performances of two songs by Borodin orchestrated by Glazunov and not the usual In the Steppes of Central Asia is somewhat disappointing. In sum, anyone looking for one and only one complete recording of Borodin's symphonies is urged to check out the recording by Evgeny Svetlanov or Loris Tjeknavorian first. But if you're looking for a second or third recording, the Rozhdestvensky is well worth considering.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Symphony No. 2 in B minor
1 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 08:22 Amazon
2 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 05:53 Amazon
3 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 08:35 Amazon
4 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 06:58 Amazon
Petite Suite for orchestra (orchestrated by Glazunov)
5 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 04:36 Amazon
6 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 05:18 Amazon
7 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 03:39 Amazon
8 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 03:46 Amazon
9 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 03:02 Amazon
10 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 02:06 Amazon
11 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 07:32 Amazon
Prince Igor, opera (completed by Rimsky-Korsakov & Glazunov)
12 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 02:35 Amazon
13 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 02:38 Amazon
14 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 01:17 Amazon
15 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 02:21 Amazon
16 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 01:30 Amazon
17 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 01:31 Amazon
18 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 01:31 Amazon
19 Gennady Rozhdestvensky 01:40 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick