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Myaskovsky: Complete Symphonic Works, Volume 1: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 25

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 9, 2002
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Symphony No.1 In C Minor, Op.3: I. Lento, Ma Non Troppo - Allegro
  2. Symphony No.1 In C Minor, Op.3: II. Larghetto (Quasi Andante)
  3. Symphony No.1 In C Minor, Op.3: III. Allegro Assai E Molto Risoluto
  4. Symphony No.25 In D Flat Major, Op.69: I. Adagio
  5. Symphony No.25 In D Flat Major, Op.69: II. Moderato
  6. Symphony No.25 In D Flat Major, Op.69: III. Allegro Impetuoso

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Russian Federation Academic Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Yevgeny Svetlanov
  • Composer: Nikolai Myaskovsky
  • Audio CD (April 9, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Olympia
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • ASIN: B00005UC4A
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #725,664 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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This is a very intriguing situation! Yevgeny Svetlanov has promoted the works of Myaskovsky since 1965 (with the recording of his Scriabin-ladened Third Symphony). And throughout the latter part of his career, Svetlanov's promotion of the composer's works became even more intense and consistent. This was primarily due to Melodiya's 1990/1991 commission upon the conductor to record almost all of Myaskovsky's works (the cello concerto and Symphonies nos. 3, 19, 22, & 27 rendered by Svetlanov and the USSR State Symphony were recorded by the Melodiya LPs in the 1960s & 1970s while a couple of pieces for strings as well as his cantatas were never recorded by them). From 1991 through 1993, Svetlanov performed and recorded almost all of the composer's music (many of which were never recorded) and Melodiya released two compact dics consisting of Symphonies nos. 17, 24, & 25 by 1991.

After Melodiya sold its rights to BMG after 1992, another label, Russian Disc, essentially picked up the tab. By the mid-1990s, however, Russian Disc faced a number of serious lawsuits and their efforts to release the Myaskovsky series (and other works of Russian and Non-Russian composers either freshly recorded or re-issued from the original Melodiya) were put on ice. Svetlanov used some of his own personal funds to distribute the Myaskovsky series. As we speak, the limited edition of the Russian Disc, 16 disc set is available (since the Summer of 2001) through Records International. It seems that Olympia is re-issuing the original Russian Disc/Melodiya recordings in its 17 volume set. The rumors that surfaced since the early 1990s of whether there was a Myaskovsky series is actually true (some even claimed that Rozhdestvensky recorded the complete Myaskovsky symphonies-which remains to be seen).
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This was the disc that inaugurated one of the most important series of the last decade; the series was started by Olympia and completed by Alto, and one would hope that Alto could reissue the Olympia recordings as well since these are somewhat hard to get hold of, before Svetlanov's transversal of the Myaskovsky symphonies was issues in a box by Warner. I supposed Myaskovsky remains the symphonist with the largest number of symphonies to his name since classical times whose symphonic output is consistently interesting and worth having complete (this is less clearly the case for composers such as Brian, Fordell, Hovhaness and Segerstam, who subsequently beat Myaskovsky in terms of sheer number). Though I am not familiar with all of Myaskovsky's symphonies I would probably recommend newcomers to try out nos. 6, 17, 21, and 27 first.

The two works on this well-filled disc are perhaps not his most immediately striking ones, but they are nevertheless very good; typically of the composer both are darkly dramatic, often sorrowful or yearning, containing some superb gestures and themes, though they tend to be more concerned with creating stirring episodes than with achieving a taut formal structure. The performances are representative as well; Svetlanov chooses relatively broad tempi; since I have not actually heard any alternative performances of either work I don't really know how they compare, but these performances sound overall very effective to me, though sometimes one wonders if faster performances and more momentum would have benefited the music.
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