Of all his concert works, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's symphonic suite Scheherazade is his most popular, not only for its highly memorable themes and sumptuous scoring, but most of all for its colorful evocation of images and stories from The Arabian Nights. This 2016 live recording by Fabio Luisi and the Philharmonia Zürich certainly does justice to the rich orchestral writing, which is reproduced in spectacular digital sound that approaches audiophile quality in its depth and vibrancy. The melodies are strikingly interpreted by Luisi and featured artist Bartlomiej Niziol, whose suave violin solos give a special luster to "The Story of the Kalendar Prince" and "The Young Prince and Princess." Yet it's to Luisi's credit that the music comes across with the feeling of a sustained narrative, and the lyricism and drama of Rimsky-Korsakov's exotic impressions are all of a piece. This performance is one of Luisi's most successful with the Philharmonia Zürich, which he has conducted since 2012, and their close rapport does wonders for the music.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Scheherazade Op. 35|