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In concert the Symphonic Dances are performed less frequently than their importance merits -- on disc the reverse is true -- here (in random order) is a selection; André Previn (LSO -- EMI, 1974); Charles Mackerras (RLPO -- EMI); Mikhail Pletnev (Russian National Orchestra -- DG); Vladimir Ashkenazy (Concertgebouw Orchestra, Decca 1983); Owain Arwel Hughes (Scottish National Orchestra, BIS); Neeme Jaarvi (Philharmonia Orchestra, Chandos); Mariss Janssons (St Petersburg Philharmonic, EMI, also Concertgebouw Orchestra, RCO Live]; Leonard Slatkin (St Louis Orchestra, Vox); Valery Polyansky (Russian State Symphony Orchestra, Chandos); Eugene Ormandy (Philadelphia Orchestra, Sony); Andrew Davis (Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Apex); and Yuri Temirkanov (St Petersburg Philharmonic, RCA).

Svetlanov's interpretations are heard on two other releases:

(a) -- Symphonic Dances USSR Symphony Orchestra (Grand Hall, Moscow Conservatoire; 2 March 1986); four excerpts from Aleko (2 March 1986, as above); Six Choruses for female voices and orchestra, Op 15 with Women of the USSR TV and Radio Large Choir (Studio; 1973 -- Moscow Studio Archives).

(b) In addition the Symphonic Dances (above) with Svetlanov and the USSR Symphony Orchestra is re-issued at budget price (Regis -- RRC1178); this time the coupling is Prince Rostislav Music and Gypsy Caprice Op 12, better known as Caprice Bohemien.

The Caprice was inspired by (and the 1st Symphony dedicated to) Anna Lodizhenskaya, a married woman of gypsy extraction whom Rachmaninov had fallen in love with and become obsessed by; though he identified her only through the initials A L.

We're truly spoilt for choice, as most of the above appear to be obtainable through internet sources.

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Copyright © 21 August 2007 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


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