View RSS Feed

Pierre's Tuesday Blog

Svetlanov, Glinka, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, USSR State Symphony Orchestra

Rate this Entry
This week’s Cover 2 Cover share actually began as a potential Vinyl’s Revenge. In searching for a YouTube clip of an old Melodiya vinyl recording in my collection of Tchaikovsky’s Polish Symphony, I found a contemporaneous performance of the same work by the same orchestra and conductor, but in a public setting.

The Soviet military intervention that concluded the Prague Spring on 20 August 1968 coincided with a tour of the USSR State Symphony Orchestra in the UK. According to a review of today’s feature performance, the following evening, the USSR State SO was guesting at the Proms (and playing Czech music to boot - the Dvořák Cello Concerto, with Rostropovich). Four days later, the orchestra found itself in Edinburgh, to give the concert on this disc.

When I compare the studio disc to the concert recording, there’s definitely more “zing” to the orchestra, and the well-deserved ovation at the end only stands to prove that music transcends anything and everything, even East-West political tensions.

The first part of the program – the well-known Prokofiev Classical symphony and the single surviving movement of Glinka’s Symphony on Two Russian Themes are also rendered with all their subtlety and “Russianness” by what can be perceived in today’s thinking as one of the flagshiop orchestras of the Soviet regime, with one of its most respected conductors in Mr. Svetlavov.

This is a beautiful document, and a great way to start our Summer season!

Happy Listening

Mikhail GLINKA (1804-1857)
Symphony on Two Russian Themes in D minor, G. i193

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Symphony No. 1 in D Major, op. 25, ‘Classical’

Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Symphony No. 3 in D Major, op. 29, ‘Polish’ [TH 26]

USSR State Symphony Orchestra
Evgeny Svetlanov, conducting
Live performances from Usher Hall, Edinburgh, on August 24th, 1968.

BBC Music ‎– BBCL 4145-2 (BBC Legends)
Format: CD, Stereo ADD
Released 2004
Details -

YouTube Playlist URL -