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The Spirit of Russia: Music by Rimsky-Korsakov
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Richard Kapp, Othmar Maga
The Spirit of Russia: Music by Rimsky-Korsakov
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #2


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Just Marvelous and Wonderful
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is just a super CD. For the price, the quality is just great. If you love Rhimsky-Korsakov's music or want to learn more about this neglected composer, then this is a very good CD to buy. Teh Invisible City of Kitezh is a wonderful and fantastic peice as is all of the works of this CD. The Christmas Eve suit is preformed wonderfully, and is a beautiful work. All of these are just great works that are sadly neglected. Teh Piano Concerto is just wonderful, and Michael Ponti does a super job with it. If you have never listened to this amazing concerto, then you absouletely must. Also the Concert fantasy for Violin is wonderful. It is preformed very well and is an excellent work of music. The Sadko is also a very good preformance. This is a must buy!!"
Great Recordings of Rare Rimsky-Korsakov Gems!
goodmusicman | USA | 12/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This 2-CD set contains wonderful performances of some really great music of Rimsky-Korsakov which, unfortunately, has not achieved the popularity of works like Scheherezade and Capriccio
Espagnole. The Invisible City Suite is truly magical: colorful, imaginative music that transports you to a sound-world that is quite different from most classical works. The performance is very good, with very solid sound and accoustics. The Mlada Suite is another colorful Russian showpiece that Rimsky-Korsakov excelled at. An excellent performance too. The May Night Overture gets a brisk, propulsive performance that makes it really enjoyable to listen to. The first CD ends with the rare Christmas Eve Suite No. 2, and what a delight it is! It starts out slow, with an exotic theme that is jovial and intriguing and develops into a number of exciting climaxes, and it is very well-played.
The second CD starts with the marvelous Overture on Russian Themes, which contains at least one theme you're sure to recognize (it's also in the 1812 Overture). A really smashing performance. Next is the rare Skazka/Fairy Tale, sometimes called Baba Yaga. It starts out menacing and contains both lyrical and dramatic themes, which is to be expected, as it is a tone poem that tells a story. The performance is first-rate, though it sounds like there's some background noise going on at times. Next is Sadko, given a fast, exciting performance, though I prefer the Zinman/Rotterdam one. The Piano Concerto comes next, and what a find this is! It sounds just like Rachmaninov at times. It is given a faster-than-usual performance here, which is just what it needs. This rare concerto is so enjoyable that you will wish it would go on longer than its 12 minutes and wish it were performed more often. The set ends with the Concert Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra, which is another gem that is extremely satisfying, featuring a great performance by the violinist, orchestra and conductor, as well as great sound balancing and accoustics.
If you get this set together with the Zinman/Rotterdam collection of RK's orchestral works on Phillips
as well as a good performance of Scheherazade (I'd recommend the Spano/Atlanta performance among modern ones or the Karajan/Berlin one among stereo recordings), you'll have almost all of the best music by Rimsky-Kosakov at a really low price.
Do not be put off by the fact that this CD-set features orchestras and conductors that you've probably never heard of, or by the fact that you won't find any reviews by the the standard professional musical critics. You get two CDs filled with great music at a budget price, and the performances are first-rate throughout. It is worth every penny and a whole lot more! I cannot recommend this more strongly!"
Rare Rimsky Extravaganza!
vmzfla | Orlando, Fl. | 12/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"With the classical music market flooded in excerpt reissues, this 2 CD set is a welcome budget addition for any romantic period collection. The varied selections are drawn from the 1972-1978,VOX output and are decently remastered. Rimsky-Korsakov composed 16 known operas and it was his custom to make
orchestral suites for them. The three in this set are typical of the composer's fantasies. All his life he loved fairy-tales,
nature, and folklore. He used colorful and bizarre tales for his operas, and wrote colorful and brilliant music to set them off. Each of the three included here feature an introduction,
some lovely themes and some exotic effects. "Christmas Eve" is evocative but it's storyline is based on paganism. Each suite is just right and dosen't outlast it's welcome.
The overture to "May Night" is cut from the same mold. The "Overture On Russian Themes" utilizes the same melody in Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" representing the Russian forces.
"Shazka"(Legend)is another fairy-tale based on a prologue by Pushkin. The enchanting score for "Sadko, a Musical Picture" preceded the opera by the same name by thirty years. With all Rimsky's descriptive orchestral music, we forget he composed symphonies and concertos.

Rimsky-Korsakov's short(under 12 mins.)Piano Concerto was probably inspired by his teacher Balakirev, is characteristic of Liszt's one movement form. It's themematic development is unmistakably Russian. In developing his violin writing skills he composed the "Concert Fantasy" based on Spanish themes. It prepared him well for the later "Capriccio espagnol".

The various artists all perform well but one wishes for even more updated sound; hence my reservation for a fifth star. Detailed liner notes are included.