Borodin's symphonies exude lyricism and panache. The First took five years to complete but is a work of seamless melodic invention owing something to Mendelssohn, whose influence infuses it with delicious lightness. The Second Symphony is a more explicitly Russian work, pulsing with festive and march-like elements, high-spirited and boldly nationalistic. The Third was left incomplete, and was reconstructed and orchestrated by Glazunov with considerable facility and imagination. Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony have already demonstrated their prowess in music by another of the 'Mighty Five', Rimsky- Korsakov's Sheherazade (8572693), acclaimed as 'world class nothing short of spectacular' (MusicWeb International).
10/10: If you're looking for a stellar disc containing all three Borodin symphonies in top-notch sound (the Third left incomplete, its two movements orchestrated by Glazunov), then look no further. Gerard Schwarz and his players seem to have developed a real affinity for Russian music, as their previous Rimsky-Korsakov disc suggests. The First Symphony sounds unusually cogent and masterly in their hands. Listen to the bite of the lower brass in the outer movements, and hear the plaintive songfulness of the woodwinds in the Andante. It's a true Russian sound.
The same idiomatic characteristics enhance the Second Symphony's gutsy opening string theme, while the finale simply explodes with color and energy. Borodin's Second is one of those works that everyone takes for granted, but its compact 25 minutes or so comprises one of the very best Russian symphonies of any period. It has enjoyed many fine performances, but this one is every bit as good as the best of them, and as already noted, the sonics are splendid. Don't hesitate for a minute. --ClassicsToday.com, David Hurwitz, August 2011