"This follows hard on the heels of Schwarz’s Sheherazade, also on Naxos, which has won golden opinions all round ... This is rousing music but it’s also music to wallow in and Schwarz gives you both aspects—a brisk account of Capriccio espagnol gets us off to a good start, followed by a May Night that begins with all the mystery of Ansermet’s classic account but in better sound. The Overture on Russian Themes almost brings the house down, but leave just enough voltage for the Easter Overture, my favourite of all Rimsky favourites, to finish in rousing style."
Brian Wilson - Download Roundup - MusicWeb-International.com - September 2011
Artistic Quality 9 Sound Quality 9
"Here is yet another brilliant, glittering collection of Rimsky-Korsakov orchestral music, made all the more appealing by the intelligently planned program. The two biggest, most popular works, Capriccio espagnol and the Russian Easter Overture, bracket the rest of the program—a delightful selection of opera overtures, Dubinushka, and the rarely heard but lovely Overture on Russian Themes. Two of these, the overtures to May Night and The Tsar’s Bride, are quite substantial on their own, and they deserve to be played more frequently.The performances, as we have come to expect from these forces, are very good. There was a moment, at the launch of the coda to the “Fandango asturiano” in the Capriccio espagnol, where it sounded as though Gerard Schwarz wouldn’t turn up the heat sufficiently, but after a few seconds that worry vanished. Certainly there’s no lack of excitement in this Russian Easter Overture, or in any of the other pieces. Throughout the program the orchestra plays with admirable discipline and vitality, and the sonics are crisp and bright, like the performances themselves. A useful and very attractive release."
David Hurwitz - ClassicsToday.com - September 2011
"Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol and the Russian Easter Overture are the most popular works on this 2011 Naxos release by Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony, but don’t sell the rest of the program short for unfamiliarity. Even though the remaining overtures are less popular with western audiences (undoubtedly because they aren’t played as often as the featured piece), they are still colorful works that are full of Rimsky-Korsakov’s dazzling orchestration, memorable melodies, and sparkling exoticism, a quality which was especially prized by Russian composers of the 19th century. Schwarz and his orchestra clearly relish these pieces, because the execution is sharp and the energy levels are high throughout, and the music is immediately engaging and captivating. While the Seattle Symphony is widely respected for its extensive repertoire, including substantial masterpieces, its brilliance in lighter orchestral music has attracted many listeners, and its recordings for Naxos are among that label’s most attractive offerings. The reproduction is generally excellent through the album ..."
Blair Sanderson - Allmusic.com - October 2011
"Familiar as the pieces in this collection may be, the performance, sound quality and interpretation stands out for the vitality, creativity, and resonance that comes with this recording. Under Schwarz’s direction a well-known piece like Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Festival Overture sounds fresh ... admirable for the exemplary performances..."
James L. Zychowicz - MusicWeb-International.com - November 2011
"...the Naxos disc consists mostly of material that is much less frequently encountered, and in these pieces Schwarz’s approach is more persuasive. May Night was Rimsky’s second opera…has much beauty and charm. Schwarz’s rendition of the overture is well played…Schwarz’s hard-driving approach suits the Tsar’s Bride overture well, and the clarity of texture he secures is also beneficial to this piece…Naxos has given Schwarz recorded sound that is very bright and clear…"
Daniel Morrison - Fanfare - March 2012
’Bargain of the Month’"
Capriccio espagnol and Russian Easter overture ...are both, without question, superbly crafted and highly effective musical evocations that offer a wide range of opportunities for displays of orchestral virtuosity.All are played with considerable aplomb and do a fine job of whetting one’s appetite for the full scores. Schwarz offers an attractive account of the composer’s orchestration of the radical student song Dubinushka ...it certainly benefits from Naxos’s state of the art recording... these Seattle Symphony recordings of Russian virtuoso showpieces are an excellent illustration of the amazingly high standards being achieved by other previously unheralded orchestras all over the globe."
Rob Maynard - MusicWeb-International.com - December 2011
"...it’s genuinely difficult to imagine better performances. This is a delicious orchestral feast." *****
Malcolm Hayes - Classic FM Magazine - December 2011
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