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Rimsky-Korsakov: Suites
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Neeme Järvi, Scottish National Orchestra
Rimsky-Korsakov: Suites
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #3

Rimsky-Korsakov's operatic suites used to be standard repertoire, but like so much attractive and colorful music, it seems that recording has absolved orchestras of the need to play them live! It's a rare day that you wi...  more »


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All Artists: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Neeme Järvi, Scottish National Orchestra
Title: Rimsky-Korsakov: Suites
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Chandos
Release Date: 4/3/1992
Genre: Classical
Styles: Opera & Classical Vocal, Forms & Genres, Symphonies, Symphonies
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaCD Credits: 3
UPC: 095115832721

Rimsky-Korsakov's operatic suites used to be standard repertoire, but like so much attractive and colorful music, it seems that recording has absolved orchestras of the need to play them live! It's a rare day that you will find such lovely works as the Christmas Eve or Snow Maiden suite in the concert hall, so by all means invest in this comprehensive collection and enjoy them at home. This was the first project in Neeme Järvi's epic collaboration with the Scottish National Orchestra, and as is so often the case in such instances, everyone really plays their collective hearts out. Even Chandos outdoes itself in providing sound of speaker-shattering impact. A great set. --David Hurwitz

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CD Reviews

Excellent compilation
Mark Kolakowski | Fair Haven, NJ United States | 09/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I concur that this is an excellent set, performed exquisitely by Jarvi and the Scottish National Orchestra. The comprehensive liner notes refer to the Procession of the Nobles from the Mlada Suite as "splendid." Indeed it is, a tour de force of orchestration that has few peers. The panache with which it is performed here is a touchstone for the quality of the entire set.This should be a must-have for fans of Rimsky-Korsakov. It certainly assembles much of his best work, some of which is not very easy to find. The one quibble, albeit a big one, is the price. At first glance, you may think that the price isn't too bad, given that you get 3 CDs. But these CDs each contain only 50 minutes or so of music. A technical justification is that a 2 CD package would have required one of the suites to straddle 2 discs. I'm sure that most listeners, however, would have preferred such a cut if the pricing were more realistic. Tough call. Maybe drop a big hint to a friend that you want this as a gift."
As complete and good a collection as you're likely to find.
Bob Zeidler | Charlton, MA United States | 08/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Over a 35-year period, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov wrote fifteen operas, all but a handful of them still in the active Russian repertoire. A few of them have even gained something of a foothold recently in the U.S., with Valery Gergiev and his Kirov Opera company performing them on tour. For those seeking orchestral works of Rimsky-Korsakov beyond Sheherazade, the Great Russian Easter Festival Overture, and, perhaps, Capriccio Espagnol and the 2nd ("Antar") Symphony, a logical place to start is with the orchestral suites he fashioned from several of his better-known operas (covering nearly half of his operatic output).

For those so interested, my first - and highest - recommendation goes to this Chandos boxed set, with Neemi Järvi conducting the Scottish National Orchestra (as it was known in 1984, when this recording was made; it is now the Royal Scottish National Orchestra). With the possible exception of some incidental music from Sadko and The Tsar's Bride, this set contains virtually all of the most popular orchestral music from Rimsky-Korsakov's better-known operas.

Over the years, Järvi has developed somewhat of a reputation for "recording everything in sight," not always with the most effective of results. But here, in what the editorial reviewer identifies as his first recording session with the SNO, he has done a splendid job all around, bringing out the often gorgeous coloristic effects of the music, with an orchestra that fully does justice to the performance requirements, and with stunning sound captured by the Chandos engineers.

Particularly noteworthy are the suite from Mlada (with its dramatic "Procession of the Nobles" march), the atmspheric and magical music from The Invisible City of Kitezh, and the better-known suite from The Golden Cockerel. In all of these suites - and in the balance of the boxed set as well - Järvi and the SNO capture the orchestrational genius of Rimsky-Korsakov with perfection: brilliant brass, shimmering strings, nicely-detailed woodwind playing, as is seldom heard from all too many Russian orchestras.

This was clearly an auspicious debut album for Järvi and the SNO, an orchestra that he would direct in many recordings over the following decade or so. And, though not inexpensive, it is the single finest (and most complete) album of Rimsky-Korsakov's orchestral suites from his operas that I have had the pleasure of hearing.

Recommended without reservation.

Bob Zeidler"
A great collection for Rimsky fans. (And if you're not a fan
M. C. Passarella | Lawrenceville, GA | 08/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have fond feelings for this collection. It was my introduction to the Chandos label and to conductor Neemi Jarvi, and I was bowled over. Since that time, recording just about every piece of music written by Western composers has apparently reduced some of Jarvi's enthusiasm, because his later recordings are often not as just-right as his Rimsky performances herein. But these performances are everything they should be. Jarvi and his Scottish orchestra stress the sparkling colors and the near-classical leanness of Rimsky's orchestrations. No Wagnerian bloat, no Brahmsian bottom-heaviness here. Rimsky seems to return to Berlioz as his orchestral paradigm, I always think.

I was immediately attracted to the Christmas Eve Suite, which I hadn't heard before; it builds to a wonderful climax in the tempo of a polonaise. Move over, Piotr I. Tchaikovsky--this music is a great change from chestnuts out of the Nutcracker (a pretty lame pun, but I'll let it stand).

However, Christmas Eve is not the only pleasure these discs provide. Jarvi offers first-rate performances of the lovely May Night, Rimsky's finest overture, as well as suites from the Golden Cockerel, the Snow Maiden, and Mlada, which contain some of Rimsky's most memorable music: the Dance of the Tumblers, the Procession of the Nobles, the Wedding Feast and Death of King Dodon. Great stuff.

And then there's Chandos' recording: incredibly clean and wide-ranging, with just the right sense of hall sound. I'm still impressed every time I listen.