Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rimsky-Korsakov: Sheherazade, Etc.

Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade is a colorful and powerful score, and many conductors have done it well, but this one goes over and beyond. Each phrase grabs you. The orchestra is technically and emotionally superb. This is a real sonic feast for the ears—spectacular, explosive, electrifying! The pairing is equally vivid and expressive. This is a proof that the great names of the past still can be beaten! --MusicWeb International

Gerard Schwarz and his Seattle forces turn in an absolutely terrific Sheherazade: voluptuous, exotic, with a nice flexibility of pulse, but also very exciting. You can tell this will be a fine performance from the very first bar: firm and strong, with the brass giving the theme a menacing growl, followed by Maria Larionoff’s bewitching solo violin representing the protagonist herself. Only the finale, while admirably fleet and precise, lacks a touch of cinematic sparkle, but when everything else goes so well this is a minor point. The two inner movements in particular have a crispness and flow that are very welcome, and (these days) somewhat unusual.

The Tsar Saltan Suite is just plain spectacular—as colorful and brilliant as you could imagine. Its central movement, “The Tsarina in a Barrel at Sea”, is particularly gripping: the strings really dig, the accompaniment throbs, and the entire movement has an emotional impact that most performances barely begin to suggest. Through it all the orchestra plays with one hundred percent commitment, and the sonics, just a shade dry, offer maximum clarity. This is the first disc in a projected series, and if it maintains this standard it will be a high point in the extensive Schwarz/Seattle discography. --David Hurwitz,, February 2011

MP3 320 · 143 MB

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