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Shchedrin: Concertos for Orchestra, Nos. 4 and 5

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 27, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

The distinguished Russian composer, pianist and teacher Rodion Shchedrin writes: 'I spent my childhood in
the small Russian town of Aleksin, situated on the river Oka, 300 kilometres south of Moscow. My grandfather was an Orthodox priest there. When I was growing up, purely entertaining, commercial music was not yet as ubiquitous as it is now on television, radio, in stations, sea-ports and shops… It was still possible to hear choral songs, the sound of the accordion, the strumming of the balalaika, funeral laments, the cries of shepherds at dawn, coming from beyond a river, enveloped in fog. All that distant and now extinct musical atmosphere of a Russian province is strongly etched in my childhood memories. I think, in all three compositions on this CD, it has found it own nostalgic echo.' All three works are world première recordings.
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
1
30
28:10
Album Only
2
30
21:37
Album Only
3
30
8:40
Album Only

Product Details

  • Conductor: Karabits, Riddell
  • Composer: Shchedrin
  • Audio CD (April 27, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0037TTQDI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,211 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Tom J. Godell on June 13, 2010
Format: Audio CD
When Rodion Shchedrin began his musical career, Joseph Stalin was at the height of his post-war power. Long after the bloody dictator's death--not to mention the ignominious end of the Soviet Union itself--Shchedrin continues to thrive and create vital, compelling music. These three vividly colorful examples were written between 1989 and 1999.

Concerto 4 is first on the program, and it is by far the most compelling and easily accessible score. The sub-title means "Round Dances" or "Roundelays", and the spirit and vitality of Russian folk dancing is never far beneath the surface. Despite the nationalist inspiration of the music, the themes are all Shchedrin's--"my own innocent vision", as he comments in the booklet. The work is cast in a single movement of nearly a half hour in length, but it is divided into three distinct dances followed by a coda that recalls the score's ethereal opening passage.

Shchedrin has always been a master of orchestral color, even as early as his First Piano Concerto, written while he was still a conservatory student. Then, as now, he was deeply influenced by the greatest of his predecessors: Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Khachaturian. That influence is still obvious in this delightful Concerto. For example, the passage for two flutes at the beginning of the second dance recalls the 11th Symphony of Shostakovich, while the blazing climax at the end of the third seems to be a direct descendent of Prokofiev's Scythian Suite.

That said, there's plenty of originality and creativity on display here. The opening is a masterstroke: a haunting, melismatic solo by an alto recorder accompanied by two flutes imitating the sound of the rushing wind. Shchedrin also makes creative use of the harpsichord and an enormous battery of percussion instruments.
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Format: Audio CD
The one review for this CD here, by John B. Meagher, is *so bad* (and incredibly stupid), it inspired me to write this review. (And this CD deserves a 5-star review anyway!)

This is some of the most original classical music I've ever heard. And that's coming from someone who's heard thousands of classical music CDs (thanks to all the libraries in my city *and* Amazon of course).

I personally don't like to spend my time reading L O N G reviews on Amazon, so I'll keep this short. You will not hear better orchestral writing than on these three brilliant compositions. Highly intelligent, lyrically imaginative, crystalline-like transparency in the beautiful sonorities, and world-class playing by this U.K. orchestra. With demonstration-like sonics, and at a budget price, this is what you would call a 'no-brainer'! You will NOT be disappointed. Shchedrin is Russia's greatest living composer and this disk is instant proof of that debatable claim.

I hope this helps with only that one-star review to go on. (And a note to Mr. Meagher - do yourself and everyone else a favor - DELETE your review. How embarrassing.)
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I have music of Shchedrin and have heard him before. I couldn't resist this Naxos issue to hear it for myself. I am somewhat disappointed as I am a serious classical listener. This is much more suited for New Age than classical.

The Bournemouth Symphony is top shelf in this recording and they make the most of the music. Kirill Karabits is an up and coming conductor and does a fine job here.

I feel two faced here. I want to say that this is three star music played by five star players. Or that it is five star music for those interested in New Age music.

So if you like Yanni or Andre Rieu then go for this CD for you background meditation to start your day.

If you like serious classical music of today my preferences are Jay Greenberg, Schnittke, or Weinberg.
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Shchedrin fills his 1989 Concerto for Orchestra No. 4 "Khorovody" (Roundelays) with an abundance of clever ideas and unusual combinations of instruments. Played as a single, extended series of round dances nearly a half an hour long, it is mostly gentle and relaxed, accelerating as it goes along, with echos of whistling winds, sleigh bells, distant thunder, folklike dance tunes of the composer's invention, with a recurring recorder keeping it all knit together. By the time it concludes, the music has built up into a minor fury, finally subsiding back into the calm in which it started. Conductor Kirill Karabits and his Bournemouth Symphony players maintain an easygoing approach to the music and appear to enjoy a time well spent.

Concerto Orchestra No. 5, also premiered in 1989 and again set in a single movement, is a bit shorter than No. 4 at a little over twenty minutes and scored for a slightly smaller ensemble. This time Shchedrin uses a well-known Russian folk tune in the work, but the mood remains the same as the composer takes us on a musical journey via horse and carriage through various landscapes. Shchedrin says these treks are nostalgic childhood memories of his. Fair enough. It's all enjoyable stuff if somewhat light and not a little wistful in its sonorities.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor
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