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A new recording of key Russian Romantic repertoire, Borodin’s symphonies exude lyricism and panache.
The First took five years to complete but is a work of seamless melodic invention owing something to Mendelssohn, whose influence infuses it with delicious lightness. The Second Symphony is a more explicitly Russian work, pulsing with festive and march-like elements, high-spirited and boldly nationalistic. The Third was left incomplete, and was reconstructed and orchestrated by Glazunov with considerable facility and imagination.
Alexander Porfir'yevich Borodin: Symphony No. 1 in E flat major *
I. Adagio - Allegro - Andantino
II. Scherzo: Prestissimo - Trio: Allegro
IV. Alegro molto vivo
Alexander Porfir'yevich Borodin: Symphony No. 2 in B minor
II. Scherzo: Prestissimo. Trio: Allegretto
IV. Finale: Allegro
Alexander Porfir'yevich Borodin: Symphony No. 3 in A minor (unfinished) (orch. A.K. Glazunov)
I. Moderato assai
II. Scherzo: Vivo - Trio: Moderato
“[the Second Symphony's] usually leonine, masculine profile is lightly feminised here...but how the melodies flow, with characterful contributions from first clarinet and horn...Schwarz's players take delight, and so do we.”
“After rather plodding its way through the First Symphony, the Seattle Symphony responds to Borodin's deeper feelings in the Second with some terrifically rich and imposing playing...A bonus is the attractive and discernibly Slavic 'edge' to the orchestra's string tone, particularly low down.”
11th August 2011
“Schwarz and his Seattle Symphony deserve awards for venturing where many conductors and orchestras are nowadays unwilling to tread. These performances are very fine, with the First beautifully expansive, and the Second lean and taut without losing its poetry. The bucolic Third is too hard-edged for my taste, though it's nicely played...it's a fine disc and a terrific bargain. Treat yourself.”
30th June 2011
“Three cheers to the Seattle Symphony for championing Borodin’s symphonies, particularly in such fresh, lithe performances...Gerard Schwarz shows how virile the symphonies are, and how worthwhile it can be to explore other areas of the Romantic Russian repertoire than the usual Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff...This is glorious music, played with character and vitality.”