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Serebrier is fully cognisant of the glittering theatrical imprint within Raymonda and in his attractive account [listen -- track 11, 0:45-1:26] Glazunov's 10-movement suite, with its Introduction and Entr'actes falls into eleven CD tracks, the shortest of them 49 seconds in length.

Whether you chose the Scottish disc or the Moscow version (Symphonies Nos 5 and 8 -- a true bargain on Naxos) may boil down to budget considerations. But even if it were not so I'd opt for Anissimov's compelling passion and an even more spacious recording [listen -- Naxos 8.553660 track 6, 0:00-1:00].

This recommendation appears paradoxical considering the chequered history of Moscow Symphony Orchestra. The ensemble, founded in 1989 by Antonio de Almeida (1928-1997), during perestroika, soon fell on hard times. It was taken over by the wealthy and 'shadowy' Levi Sisters. In a climate of immense poverty here was the opportunity to use a cheap orchestra for American movies, recordings, rock group backings, and so forth. Some instrumentalists are believed to have worked under the great Soviet conductors. But as Communism fell musicians were starving, the Levi sisters were offering money, and players were prepared to cope with overwhelming recording schedules.

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


Glazunov: Symphony No 8 / Raymonda - José Serebrier

2564 61939-2 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 78'50" 2005 Warner Classics

Royal Scottish National Orchestra; José Serebrier, conductor

Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936): Symphony No 8 in E flat Op 83; Raymonda - Suite from the ballet Op 57a



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