Re-release /re-packaging of CHAN9160, CHAN9071, CHAN9041, CHAN9518 & CHAN9379
Sir Edward Downes enjoyed a long association with the BBC Philharmonic, serving as its Chief Guest Conductor, then Principal Conductor, and finally as Conductor Emeritus. His recording of Glière’s Symphony No. 3 Ilya Muromets proved the beginning of an enduring relationship between Chandos and the orchestra, which has made around 200 highly acclaimed recordings for the company, all noted for their sonic – as well as artistic – brilliance.
Although he died in 1956, Glière wrote in the great Russian romantic tradition, specialising in large-scale forms and combining tunefulness with unashamedly colourful orchestrations. This Chandos box set, which includes many rarities in the concert and record repertoires, is the most comprehensive survey of this composer’s music available; it comprises Glière’s three symphonies and a host of tone poems, ballet suites, and other orchestral works. Among the most famous will be the epic Third Symphony Ilya Muromets and the Suite from the ballet The Red Poppy, which includes the famous ‘Russian Sailor’s Dance’, one of the catchiest classical pops in the whole repertoire.
The ballet music of Glière was particularly effective, demonstrating great sensitivity and beauty, the composer’s aptitude for ear-tickling sonorities most apparent. The forty-six-minute Suite from The Bronze Horseman is an excellent example, here coupled with the appealing Horn Concerto. A CD of miscellaneous overtures and orchestral works continues to illustrate Glière’s tuneful art, much of it imbued with ‘local’ colour and dressed in bright orchestral garb. All is presented with relish by the BBC Philharmonic. The late Sir Edward Downes and Vassily Sinaisky are both masters of this colourful repertoire, and the sonic quality of Chandos’ BBC Philharmonic recordings is legendary.
“If not the [Third] symphony's first outing on disc, it remains the best...Chandos's recordings still sound glorious and the orchestra's manifest engagement with the music shines through. Watkins is excellent in the Horn Concerto but overall it is Downes's enthusiasm that makes the set so valuable.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2011