Armin Jordan

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade; Russian Easter Festival Overture

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Recorded in 1995 and previously released in Europe on EMI, this album of Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov's symphonic suite Scheherazade, Op. 35, and the Russian Easter Festival Overture, Op. 36, is a satisfactory offering, though not necessarily better than many other recordings of these Romantic favorites. Performed by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Armin Jordan, Scheherazade is always clear and clean, excitingly up-tempo, rhythmically vital, and sometimes technically brilliant, notably in Robert Zimansky's fluid violin part; and the Overture is warmly played, particularly by the resonant strings, and with heightened color in the various first-chair solos. Yet to appreciate the generally fine playing, one must turn the volume up fairly high to compensate for the low levels of the recording, and even then, there is a slightly airless quality to the reproduction that will be annoying to anyone seeking a realistic orchestral sound. Bearing in mind its affordability, as well as the unavoidable variability of EMI's recording quality in the 1990s, one shouldn't expect miracles with this reissue; and the minimal liner notes give little background information, either for the compositions or the performances. Yet this CD is a decent choice for the budget conscious and a respectable addition for any budding classical collection.

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