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'The playing under Alexander Anissimov
is as accomplished as the music.'

Glazunov symphonies -
with ROBERT ANDERSON

 

Orchestral Works 15 - Glazunov - Symphonies Nos 5 and 8 (c) 2000 HNH International Ltd

Glazunov was a precocious musician: his first symphony was first performed at Liszt's 1884 Weimar Festival when he was not yet 19; in his early 20s he was reconstructing from memory the overture to Borodin's Prince Igor, a part of the opera Borodin had often played but never written down. These two symphonies were composed in stormy times for Russia. Symphony No 5 was completed in 1895. Nicholas II was the new emperor, and at the beginning of the year had addressed local government leaders: 'I, devoting all my strength to the welfare of the people, will uphold the principle of autocracy firmly and unflinchingly as my late unforgettable father'. As Tchaikovsky wrote many years before, so long as the Russian people had no share in government, there was no hope of a better future.

That was abundantly clear at the start of 1905, when troops fired on hymn-singing demonstrators as they debouched towards the St Petersburg Winter Palace; when there was mutiny in June on the battleship Potemkin at Odessa; and in October St Petersburg was strikebound and languished without transport, gas, electricity or water. Rimsky Korsakov was dismissed from the conservatoire for supporting student demands; Glazunov resigned in sympathy. Yet by the end of the year he was director of the conservatoire. That same winter he wrote Symphony No 8, and the following spring the Tsar reaffirmed his faith in a fundamental state law:

'That the emperor's authority be obeyed not only out of fear, but also of conscience, God himself commands'. Only murder and canonization remained.

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Copyright © 14 July 2001 Robert Anderson, London, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - NAXOS 8.553660

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