OK for the price
Music Is Everything | Colorado Springs, CO USA | 09/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This set of orchestral works by Rimsky-Korsakov on the Brilliant Classics label isn't a complete survey of his orchestral works, but does have his complete symphonies and many of the favorite tone poems, with the notable omission of the Russian Easter Overture. As always with Brilliant, the recordings are a mixed bag. The well-known works (Scheherazade, Tsar Saltan, Golden Cockerel, and others) are recorded by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra under Loris Tjeknavorian. As expected, these aren't the best recordings, as the Armenian Phil can't measure up to one of the major orchestras, and they're highly processed to make them sound better in tune and give the illusion of better ensemble. The result is acceptable, though nothing special. The lesser-known works, including Rimsky-Korsakov's three symphonies and several of the shorter works, are excellently performed by the London Symphony and the Philharmonia Orchestra under the unfortunately-named Yondani Butt. These recordings are top-notch and the rarity of the works makes them all the more worthwhile. In the balance of things, at Brilliant's bargain prices, this is a worthwhile set, though I would recommend obtaining a better recording of Scheherazade (probably the Chicago Symphony with Reiner conducting, which is still the standard) because of the importance of that piece. The opportunity to discover Rimsky's underplayed symphonies is worth the purchase."