Music and Vision homepage 'Elgar and Chivalry' by Robert Anderson - available now from Elgar.org

 

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The rest of the music on the disc stems from the period after the comparative failure of Ruslan and Lyudmila. Glinka continues in the Russian vein for his arrangement of a Valse-Fantaisie piano piece. It starts melancholic and in typical Russian dumps [listen -- track 7, 0:00-0:50]. Kamarinskaya dovetails and plays resourceful variations on a couple of folk tunes that were to become ubiquitous in Russian music. Tchaikovsky considered the piece the essential acorn to the wide-branching oak of Russian musical achievement [listen -- track 8, 0:33-1:30].

Glinka's stay in Spain produced two overtures, the first exploiting in fascinating sonorities the jota aragonesa [listen -- track 9, 2:30-3:30]. The second was originally called 'Reminiscenses of Castille', but was then localised to 'Memory of a summer night in Madrid'. It is rather more sectional than the first, and less successful despite its zest [listen track 10, 2:28-3:20].

The Armenian orchestra under Tjeknavorian gives a competent performance throughout but lacks the sheer dash and verve to bring the music fully to life. As an introduction to some of Glinka's best pieces, some unfamiliar, the disc does well: but somewhere round the corner should be a performance that for brilliance and bravura would sweep us off our feet. Glinka deserves it.

Copyright © 17 February 2001 Robert Anderson, London, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - ASV CD DCA 1075

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