Artist: Tadaaki Otaka
Album: Glazunov: Orchestral Works Including The 8 Symphonies [Box Set]
Release Date: 2007
If gods die when people stop believing in them, do composers die when people stop listening to them? If so, then while Alexander Glazunov may have died and turned to dust in the concert hall, he is alive and well and living on recordings. All things considered, it’s a pretty good half-life for the composer once considered the greatest symphonist of the Russian Silver Age. When this cycle of the eight symphonies with Tadaaki Otaka leading the BBC National Orchestra of Wales was issued, there had already been four complete cycles released in the stereo and digital eras by Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Neeme Järvi, and Alexander Anissimov, plus three incomplete cycles by Yondani Butt, Valery Polyansky, and José Serebrier. For true believers in the optimistic art of Glazunov, the Otaka cycle may be the best since Rozhdestvensky’s. The sweep of his developments, the scale of his structures, the unbound joy of his tempos, the unreserved heroism of his themes, and the supreme confidence of his tone are all manifestly present in these excellent performances. Otaka knows when to push and when to pull back, knows how to shape lines and sculpt a sonority so that the music is always driving toward the ultimate climax. With its suave strings, blended winds, modulated brass, and polished ensemble, the Welsh BBC may not sound especially Russian, but it does sound like one of the best orchestras to perform these works.
Recorded in Brangwyn Hall in Swansea, Wales between 1995 and 1998 and released in this budget-priced box in 2007, the sound here is big, wide, warm, and deep.
|Symphony No. 1 in E major (“Slavyanskaya”), Op. 5|
|1. Allegro||Tadaaki Otaka||10:58|
|2. Scherzo. Allegro||Tadaaki Otaka||5:11|
|3. Adagio||Tadaaki Otaka||8:58|
|4. Finale. Allegro||Tadaaki Otaka||9:58|
|Symphony No. 6 in C minor, Op. 58|
|1. Adagio – Allegro passionato||Tadaaki Otaka||10:34|
|2. Tema con variazioni||Tadaaki Otaka||11:34|
|3. Intermezzo. Allegretto||Tadaaki Otaka||5:23|
|4. Finale. Andante maestoso – Moderato maestoso||Tadaaki Otaka||10:14|