For ballet fans, an excellent "Valse Fantaisie"
ATP | Santa Monica, CA United States | 04/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"George Balanchine referred to Mikhail Glinka as "the Mozart of Russia." So it's not surprising that he choregraphed Glinka's "Valse Fantaisie" not once, but twice. I'm more familiar with the earlier version of the choreography (roughly 1956), because that's what I have seen performed. It features three female soloists and one male; the emphasis shifts as first one, then another female dances a pas de deux. Sometimes the other two dancers become a duo; at other points they compete for the male dancer's attention. Glinka's music lends itself perfectly to the shifting alliances among the dancers. It's difficult to find a recording a "Valse Fantaisie," so it's fortunate that Neeme Jarvi's rendition is a good one. It has the even tempo beloved of ballet conductors, as well as the highly colored crescendos the music demands.For a ballet completist like myself, "Valse Fantaisie" is reason enough to own this album. (There's also a version of "Stars and Stripes," another piece Balanchine used for a ballet.) But every track is worth a listen. I particularly like the unexpected Gershwin gem, "Walking the Dog." It has a sly, comic appeal that's very endearing."
A first rate musical buffet...
vmzfla | Orlando, Fl. | 04/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When one dosen't want to listen to a complete symphony or concerto, but desires various moods and melodies; this disc is for them. This eclectic collection of miniatures performed by Neeme Jarvi and the Detroit Symphony is one of the best of it's kind, ever! The tracks were recorded between 1991 and 1993 and the CHANDOS sound is generally brilliant. The selections were probably drawn from other discs and though the liner notes are informative, there seems to be no program plan. This is just good music! Ellington's "Solitude", Dvorak's "Humoresque", "Clair de lune" and "The Stars and Stripes Forever" familiar pieces all on the same disc! These are all great but it is the unexpected rarities included that should be pursued. The colorful "Fete Polonaise", the two hard to find Glinka works and the almost forgotten Gershwin "Promenade" to name a few are well worth owning. So from simple beautiful themes to folksy melodies, sprawling waltzes, rousing marches, musical novelties, this CD has it all. If you like this, check out "Stokowski Transciptions" on TELARC.