The Soviet conductor Nikolai Anosov was born in Borissoglebsk, a town about four hundred miles south of Moscow. His education was extensive: he spoke ten languages and was a fine pianist. His conducting career began during the 1930s at Rostov and Baku and he led the first performance of Khachaturian’s Dance Suite in Moscow in 1933. The German conductor Kurt Sanderling has mentioned in an interview how in 1936 he met Anosov and played many pieces for piano four hands with him, including Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1. Anosov was in fact an early admirer of the music of Dmitri Shostakovich and conducted the first performance of his Piano Concerto No. 2, with Maxim Shostakovich as soloist, in Moscow in 1957. He was professor of conducting at the Moscow Conservatory from 1940 until 1962, and was chief conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra during the 1940s.
Following World War II and during the years of the ‘Iron Curtain’ Anosov conducted extensively throughout the Eastern bloc, appearing with orchestras in Hungary, Romania and Czechoslovakia; in Russia he conducted the USSR State Symphony Orchestra and the USSR Large Radio Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his conducting activities, Anosov composed, writing a piano concerto, a wind quintet and several songs. Also active as a critic, he was the author of a book on reading orchestral scores. He married the singer Natalya Rozhdestvenskaya, a leading soprano at the Bolshoi Opera in Moscow, in 1929, and taught their son Gennadi Rozhdestvensky conducting at the Moscow Conservatory.
Anosov’s discography is not large but contains several extremely distinguished performances. Of particular note are his recordings of Prokofiev. He recorded the Symphony No. 7 with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra for Supraphon, one of the earliest recordings of this work, as well as highly idiomatic performances of the Lieutenant Kijé and Romeo and Juliet Suites. His conducting of the music of Tchaikovsky was extremely powerful (his account of the Piano Concerto No. 2 with Tatiana Nikolayeva is one of the few to be complete) and he recorded several contemporary Russian works of note, including Kabalevsky’s Symphony No. 2, Galynin’s Suite for String Orchestra, Shebalin’s Horn Concerto No. 2 and Shchedrin’s Symphony No. 1. Although he recorded few works outside the Russian repertoire, he accompanied Yulian Sitkovetsky in Sibelius’s Violin Concerto with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and led an urgent account of Sibelius’s Symphony No. 1 with the USSR Large Radio Symphony Orchestra.
© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Patmore (A–Z of Conductors, Naxos 8.558087–90).