Evgeny Svetlanov

Rimsky-Korsakov: Opera Suites

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Moscow Studio Archives' Rimsky-Korsakov: Opera Suites, featuring the late Russian conductor Evgeny Svetlanov and the USSR Symphony Orchestra, is very similar to a program issued on Regis, Rimsky-Korsakov: Overtures and Suites. It is based out of the same pool of studio recordings made in Moscow in 1971 and 1985, issued on the Melodiya and Olympia imprints, respectively. The Moscow Studio Archives version reproduces the whole of the Pan Voyevoda Suite rather than just two pieces, and the The Snow Maiden Suite appears here in its full four movements, as opposed to a stingy three on the Regis.

However, whatever is gained in terms of comprehension of the works is lost in sound quality. The sound on the Moscow Studio Archives compact disc is muddy, shallow, and distant; one really has to crank it up to hear it properly. Even though these are studio recordings, the quality of the digital transfers of these late analog tapes is so poor that you'd swear these are typical live Russian radio recordings of the period. They are not, and even though the price of this super budget issue may seem tempting, Moscow Studio Archives' Rimsky-Korsakov: Opera Suites should be avoided, even if one is a die-hard fan of Svetlanov.

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