The best "Seasons" ballet available today
Classic Music Lover | Maryland, USA | 06/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's dispense with the Violin Concerto #2 quickly. It's performed well here by Mr. Shumsky. But the work isn't particularly special, and it doesn't linger in the memory for long. The real story here is the ballet "The Seasons." There have been some interesting and idiomatic treatments of this score recorded over the years, including Manuel Rosenthal/Paris Philharmonic and Antal Dorati/Dallas Symphony in the very early years of LPs. Later on, the Ernest Ansermet/Suisse Romande recording on London/Decca was the one to have. Today, we have numerous readings to choose from -- most of them utterly bland and formulaic.
And then there's this Jarvi performance. Idiomatic yet swifter than most -- one wonders how the dancers on the stage could ever keep up with him -- the conductor breathes fresh new life into the score, bringing forth its icy magic and glittering orchestration like no other recording currently available (compare it with the disappointing Vladimir Ashkenazy and Edo de Waart readings and you'll see what I mean). With Jarvi, the 30-minute score is over before you know it, and you'll swear the music is as good as Tchaikovsky's ballets. (It isn't, but the fact that it sounds that way speaks volumes about Jarvi's special way with Glazunov.) This recording merits 5 stars on the basis of the "Seasons" score alone."
Gorgeous music meets a splendid performance
Robert D. Harmon | Mill Valley, CA | 10/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've found the Chandos-label performances by Neeme Jarvi, with the Scottish National Orchestra, to be superb in sound, performance and material, particularly with Russian composers. This album stands out, however, with some of the loveliest music in the repertoire. The "Autumn" bacchanal is rightly remembered, but the "Autumn" adagio that follows it is pure magic -- the sound snippet on this product page does not do it justice, particularly the woodwind solos that thread this movement. Shumsky turns in a splendid performance in the Violin Concerto, and while the piece may not be to everyone's liking, I have to say that Jarvi, Shumsky and the SNO have made it a splendid experience, with the Allegro being particularly joyous.
Strongly recommend for any classical music lover's collection."