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Glazunov: Symphony No. 1 · Violin Concerto
The Classical Shop
release date: September 1999
Originally recorded in 1998
Russian State Symphony Orchestra
Grand Hall of Moscow Conservatory
Orchestral & Concertos
Total Time - 59:02
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Symphony No. 1 'Slavyanskaya', Op. 5
in E major - E-Dur - mi majeur
Concerto for Violin, Op. 82*
in A minor - a-Moll - la mineur
Valeri Polyasnky conducts the Russian State Symphony Orchestra in the third disc of their new Glazunov series.
This disc is particularly interesting in that in couples Glazunov’s earliest Symphony, written at the age of only sixteen, with the much more mature Violin Concerto, written at the age of thirty-nine.
Valeri Polyansky has made an excellent series of recordings encompassing well known and less familiar Russian repertoire on Chandos, all of which have been well received. His Schnittke series, Grechaninov and Shostakovich and a disc of rare Mussorgsky works are particularly admired.
The premiere of Glazunov’s First Symphony on 29 March 1882 in the imposing surrounding of the so-called ‘white-columned’ Hall of the Nobility in St Petersburg, was conducted by Rimsky-Korsakov. The Symphony was a resounding success, and when the composer came to take his bows the audience was astonished to see a sixteen-year-old boy still wearing his college uniform. As with Glazunov’s later symphonies, there is no known programme and the general design of the work follows the artistic principals of the nationalist school founded by Glinka and perpetuated by Balakirev.
The Symphony was dedicated to Rimsky-Korsakov who undoubtedly played and important part in its composition, as well as being Glazunov’s influential early teacher. In later years Glazunov made some changes to the orchestration, but the essential features of the Symphony remained much as they were when he completed it in 1881. In its present form Glazunov’s first symphonic work creates the impression of astonishing maturity, and the freshness of the melodic invention and the seemingly effortless manner of composition often mask a formidable technique.
The Violin Concerto is a work of Glazunov’s maturity. It is one of two works for violin and orchestra that he completed in the early years of the twentieth century (the other is the Mazurka-oberek of 1917). The idea of writing the Concerto dates back to 1903 and it was first performed in 1905 by the famous virtuoso Leopold Auer. Since the composer wrote so extensively for the piano it is curious that his first attempt at the concerto form should have been for the violin. Perhaps the original stimulus had come from the recent violin concertos by Konyus and Arensky, but whatever prompted Glazunov, the result was a work of immense charm that has attracted violinists ever since.
Very Beautifully played here. Polyansky has the work’s full measure: his pacing keeps the music alive and flowing without pushing too melodramatically and the jaunty mood of the finale, delightfully scored, is perfectly caught.
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