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Yet again, another sterling set appears to be emerging from Warner Classics -- their artists; the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and José Serebrier. Following on Warner's coupling of Symphony No 5 and The Seasons, the Scottish players bring appropriate breadth and commitment to these later, finely-crafted works.

Now in his 60s, Uruguay-born Serebrier (Russian-Polish parentage) most certainly has the measure of Glazunov's 8th; his most sophisticated symphony [listen -- track 1, 6:17-7:32].

While this final work (1906) came when pre-revolutionary rumblings were rife among Russian intellectuals, the music, for all its outward-looking character, has unmistakable Imperial origins, reflecting the composer's affinity with Rimsky-Korsakov and Glinka.

Jose Serebrier
Jose Serebrier

The Allegro moderato has a splendour worthy of, and indeed not unlike Elgar, and Serebrier never lets its pace flag. A gruff opening broaches Glazunov's pivotal 2nd movement, marked Mesto, and here the stately development [listen -- track 2, 8:14-9:37] reveals the RSNO winds to perfection. Serebrier gives the Allegro thrilling impetus and panache while the near-Tchaikovskian orchestration of this grand Finale shows the composer at the height of his powers [listen -- track 4, 11:04-12:31].

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Copyright © 11 January 2006 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


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