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Cat. No. CHAN 10390 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10390 - Taneyev: Symphonies Nos 1 and 3
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Available From: 01 April 2007
Taneyev is better known as a pupil of Tchaikovsky who criticised his master for putting ballet music into a symphony! Soviet musicology has also dwelt more upon the theoretical aspects of the composer’s work, not least the influence of his huge study, Strict Counterpoint in the Convertible Style. This has meant that many works which the composer was too self-critical to admit to publication (only the Fourth Symphony was published) were studiously reconstructed, and recently musicologists and collectors have reassessed the legacy of Taneyev’s music.

Symphony No.1, in E minor was never even performed in Taneyev’s lifetime. Reasonable conjecture suggests that it was one of many tasks set for the 16-year old student by Tchaikovsky. Taneyev’s orchestration throughout is melodic and lyrical; the example of Tchaikovsky clearly fired his assistant’s imagination. By the time he completed his Third Symphony in 1884, Taneyev had taken Tchaikovsky’s place as Professor at the Moscow Conservatory. There is much of Brahms’s easy-flowing spirit and natural polyphony, within the work, as well as foreshadowing another Russian symphonist, Glazunov.

Taneyev’s compositional style is characterised by its fastidious craftsmanship, the composer’s inclination to contrapuntal techniques and his adept handling of large-scale forms. A lone figure in late nineteenth-century Russian music, he was openly contemptuous of contemporary nationalist composers and his work owes little to Russian tradition.

These premiere recordings make a welcome arrival to the Russian music catalogue.

Taneyev’s credentials as a Romantic symphonist are underlined by the Chandos coupling nof the First and tThird, works of strength, personality and formidable craftsmanship. In terms of musical interest and quality of performance… merits attention.
The Telegraph

Long regarded as a dry theorist, Tchaikovsky’s friend and avourite pupil has emerged as a master craftsman with a distinctive voice.
Classic FM Magazine

Glowing reviews of Taneyev’s Symphonies 2 and 4 performed by Russian State Symphony Orchestra:
This is a striking, and very well-recorded pair of performances, well worth the attention of lovers of Russian music who have not yet encountered these works.

Gramophone on CHAN 9998

With astute confidence and pounding vigour, Valeri Polyansky commands a luscious sound and first-rate performance from the Russian State Symphony Orchestra.
The Observer on CHAN 9998

The performances are of quality and the notes by Anastasia Belina with copious music-type illustrations, exemplary… a highly interesting and valuable disc.
BBC Music Magazine

This [No. 3] is a work I shall enjoy returning to again, whereas No. 1 is only, I suspect for Taneyev-fanatics. Polyansky directs excellently recorded performances – a mite dutiful in the First Symphony, perhaps, but communicating real enjoyment and enthusiasm in No. 3.
International Record Review

Valeri Polyansky has already given us a superlative coupling of the Second and Fourth Symphonies or Sergei Taneyev for Chandos [CHAN 9998] and in fact in the Overview (Mar/Apr 2004) I decided he would be the ideal choice to record Taneyev’s other two symphonies to my knowledge never offered before on CD…This adds immeasurably to the recorded legacy of Russian music.
American Record Guide

Polyansky and the Russian State Symphony have done Taneyev a superb service with these thoroughly prepared, expertly recorded performances. The music itself may be too firmly tied to academic apron-strings to be viable in the concert hall, and the composer’s verdict in not releasing them was surely the right one. But these are still need-to-know pieces for anyone interested in the Russian symphonic repertoire.


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