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Thread: Making friends with Glazunov's symphonic poems, pictures, fantasies, rhapsodies

  1. #46
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    Ballads for orchestra are not common. Among Russian works Tchaikovsky’s The Voyevoda is best known; there are also symphonic ballads by Miaskovsky, Lyapunov – and Glazunov: the Ballad in F major, op. 72 (1902). The work does not have a program though it shares certain romantic material with the composer’s suite From the Middle Ages. It is in ternary form and pastoral as is suggested by the key of F major. First there is a slow, lyrical section with a repeated motif expressing intense yearning. The middle fast section is march-like, with calls by a trio of trumpets suggesting chivalric medieval times. After a spectacular evocation of nature the opening section returns, modified with reminiscences of the trumpets and associated figures.

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    Our last two Glazunov orchestral works are based on national or regional affinities. The Finnish Fantasy, op. 88 (1909) is based on two folk songs, the first evoking cuckoo-bird calls. From this base the composer weaves an orchestral canvas that has great contrasts in mood. Between simple thematic statements are brilliantly-orchestrated passages varying among the virtuosic, the chromatic, the contrapuntal, and much else. The chorale Ein feste Burg (A Mighty Fortress) enters near the close in acknowledgement of Finland’s prominent Lutheran Church.

    There are two options available on record: the Moscow SO/Igor Golovschin on Naxos (1999) or the Glazunov collected works by the USSR SO/Svetlanov.

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  4. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Knox View Post
    Our last two Glazunov orchestral works are based on national or regional affinities. The Finnish Fantasy, op. 88 (1909) is based on two folk songs, the first evoking cuckoo-bird calls. From this base the composer weaves an orchestral canvas that has great contrasts in mood. Between simple thematic statements are brilliantly-orchestrated passages varying among the virtuosic, the chromatic, the contrapuntal, and much else. The chorale Ein feste Burg (A Mighty Fortress) enters near the close in acknowledgement of Finland’s prominent Lutheran Church.

    There are two options available on record: the Moscow SO/Igor Golovschin on Naxos (1999) or the Glazunov collected works by the USSR SO/Svetlanov.
    Roger, I have been reading your comments throughout with a great deal of interest. Much appreciated!

    I think I am going to have a Glazunov blitz at some stage in the near future. A few years back I trawled the second hand sellers on Amazon and the like and collected what I think is all of the Naxos recordings, which did include for me a third or fourth set of the Symphonies. I found a lot of his music thoroughly enjoyable, but not as attention-grabbing as some, but I feel better equipped now! Thanks!
    Last edited by CnC Bartok; Oct-17-2021 at 12:43.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CnC Bartok View Post
    Roger, I have been reading your comments throughout with a great deal of interest. Much appreciated!

    I think I am going to have a Glazunov blitz at some stage in the near future. A few years back I trawled the second hand sellers on Amazon and the like and collected what I think is all of the Naxos recordings, which did include for me a third or fourth set of the Symphonies. I found a lot of his music thoroughly enjoyable, but not as attention-grabbing as some, but I feel better equipped now! Thanks!
    CnC Bartok, many thanks for your comments , which I'm really thankful for! Hope you enjoy your "Glazunov blitz" as much as I have mine. Will look forward to what you have to say about the recordings and works.

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    Our last work from the list in post #36 is the Karelian Legend for Orchestra, op. 99 (1916). It is appropriate for the month of Halloween, as is another Russian work in the legend genre: Kikimora, op. 63 (1909) by Anatoly Liadov, which depicts witches. Curiously the Karelian Legend program parallels at the opening that of Glazunov’s much earlier The Sea; this time it is a young man sitting by the shore of a lake towards sunset. Pines rustle, a cuckoo calls, and … beware if you go further as this is a dark work. The recording and program are here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTdA...=TheNewFlutist

    Formally, I think perhaps the program has too much sway over this 22-minute piece. Yet impressionistic touches in orchestration, rhythm (syncopation, 7/4 meter at one point) and harmony (parallelism, unresolved dissonant triads) are notable strengths, belying Glazunov’s reputation as a rigid conservative. Recordings are those given above for the Finnish Fantasy.
    Last edited by Roger Knox; Today at 01:50.

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    Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this thread! There are quite a few posts that I haven’t replied to yet, but will. Also, please continue to send comments on Glazunov’s orchestral music. Another option as mentioned before is the excellent Glazunov Composer Guestbook.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kreisler jr View Post
    The Rozhdestvensky has the typical CCCP sound, rather rough but often exciting. I have 3 discs in older issues and it's good enough for me but some dislike that sound. There is also Svetlanov (I think one cycle from Soviet times and one live from the 1990s).

    Hurwitz trashed most of the Soviet/Russian recordings recently, but that's only him. For "completeness" I got the Serebrier box and it is quite nice although little of it will become my favorite music. It's pleasant music but not much more. I have to admit that I find the violin concerto even more hackneyed than the Tchaikovsky...
    Hurwitz's attitude towards Soviet recordings is pretty much biased. I love those Soviet fierce often pompous recordings full of sound and wild rhythms. Each conductor could develop his own sound. Mravinsky, Svetlanov or Golovanov could be easily distinguished.

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