“…The symphony is striking in its masterly technique, daring invention in the choice of idioms, and narration of ideas.” P.I. Tchaikovsky
Anton Rubinstein’s Symphony No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 95, emerged in 1874 – ending a dry spell of roughly 20 years since his previous efforts in the genre. It came at a time when the future of the purely instrumental symphony was in doubt, reflecting the notion of Wagner and his disciples that Beethoven had exhausted the possibilities of symphonic development – and that the day of “synthetic” art (the “Gesamtkunstwerk”), with its blend of symphonic, vocal and theatrical elements, had arrived. Rubinstein did not agree, and composed his fourth symphony in an apparent effort to prove that Beethoven’s methods were still valid.
Unlike his previous “Ocean” Symphony (No. 2; DRD2010), this work has no apparent programmatic basis, relying instead on the general sorts of thematic/rhythmic devices and development that Beethoven had employed. The mostly enthusiastic response the work drew from critics and public alike validated his approach. This marks Delos’ second re-release of Russian Disk’s acclaimed series of Rubinstein’s orchestral music, as performed with authentic idiomatic flair by Igor Golovchin and his Russian State Symphony Orchestra. As German critic Rainer Aschemeier recently wrote about our first re-release (the “Ocean” Symphony, No. 2), “Then, as now, this is an absolute top recording by which all other efforts in the Rubinstein discography should be measured.”