Pavel Kogan / Moscow State Symphony Orchestra

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade

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In 1999, Pavel Kogan and the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra recorded Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade as a brilliant showpiece for demonstrating state-of-the-art recording. This impressive package from Classic Records allows the listener three options for hearing Scheherazade, as a traditional stereo CD, or in DVD audio or DVD video formats, included in the double-sided hybrid DVD-10. Since this is one of Rimsky-Korsakov's most colorful works, and the recording is a tour de force of engineering and mastering, the sophisticated audiophile should expect to be dazzled by the vivid reproduction. It stands to reason that that the most spectacular spatial and acoustic features would be found in "The Sea and Sinbad's Ship" and "Festival at Baghdad," the two most boisterous movements where the full orchestra is employed to breathtaking effect and the music is most expansive. But even the quieter passages of "The Story of the Kalender Prince" and "The Young Prince and the Young Princess" have special moments for sonic display, for the instruments are sparkling in timbre and fluid in line, and there are many sumptuous sonorities in the woodwinds. Solo parts, especially the virtuosic cadenzas for violin, are easily distinguished from background textures, and the kaleidoscopic effect of Rimsky-Korsakov's orchestration is successfully conveyed in Kogan's careful balancing of sections. This recording is an amazing presentation of both the music and HDAD technology, so it is worth hearing, even though the running time of just over 47 minutes seems a little ungenerous.

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