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Cat. No. CHAN 9861 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9861 - Glinka: Orchestral Works
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Available From: 23 November 2000
The Overture in D major (c.1822-6) has no trace of a Russian voice. In 1830 Glinka began a three-year stay in Italy to indulge his passion in Italian opera, and composed some very Italianate pieces – but paradoxically, it was these that finally brought home to him that he should not be writing music of this sort: ‘A longing for my own country led me gradually to the idea of writing in a Russian manner’.

In A Symphony on Two Russian Themes (1834), one folksong can be heard in the slow introduction and the second opens the following Allegro. The treatment of the folksong and the emerging non-western flavour of his music show that Glinka had made his first step towards ‘Russian’ music. The music of his second opera Ruslan and Lyudmila (1842) is yet more non-western, although the ballet music in the suite is conventional for the dancer’s benefit. In between Glinka’s two operas came the Valse-Fantaisie (1839). The French Waltz tradition is clearly behind this assemblage of melodies, but they rarely sound as though they could have been composed by a Frenchman.

It is the three remaining pieces on this disc that proved most seminal. All show particular ways in which folk-tunes could be made the very basis of sophisticated compositions. It is a curious fact that composers from certain countries (especially those with a strong national consciousness) have sometimes liked to found pieces on another nation’s music. From 1845 to 1847 Glinka lived in Spain, and the result was two Spanish Overtures, Capriccio brillante on the ‘Jota aragonesa’ (1845) and Souvenir d’une nuit d’été à Madrid (1848), both of which depend heavily on folksongs for their thematic material. But it was Kamarinskaya (1848), based on two folksongs, one slow and the other (the ‘Kamrinskaya’ tune itself) lively, that proved the most important piece. The Russian symphonic school is all here, and if it had never been composed, the subsequent course of Russian instrumental music would have been very different.
Reviews

"...The playing of the BBC Philharmonic is both warmly responsive and sparkling and the state-of-the-art Chandos recording is superb."
The Penguin Guide – 1000 Greatest Classical Recordings 2011-12

‘…the new Chandos disc is the one to go for’.
Gramophone

‘The orchestral playing is accomplished, and the production is excellent too. David Brown provides informative notes and the engineers have mirrored the opulence of the performances with appropriately rich sound.
International Record Review

‘This is a fabulous disc: succulently beautiful music in strong, compelling performances, recorded in deep and detailed sound… Only the warmest of recommendations will do.’
Fanfare on CHAN 9667 (Schreker)

‘Sinaisky matches the warm, glowing Chandos recording with a genial, affectionate performance… the orchestral playing is excellent…’
Gramophone on CHAN 9667 (Balakirev)

‘This is a fabulous disc.’
Fanfare

‘The BBC Philharmonic catch the music’s flavour and drama brilliantly…’
The Daily Telegraph on CHAN 9667 (Balakirev)

 

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