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Marco del Vaglio
Sedicinoni, March 2003

"The performance of the New Moscow Symphony Orchestra, directed by Joel Spiegelman, was very impressive both in Violin Concerto, where it is also possible to appreciate the great performance of the Russian violinist Sergei Stadler, and in Romantic Symphony. In conclusion we thank to Marco Polo for this recording that proposed the music of a great Italian composer inexplicably buried in oblivion."

American Record Guide, August 2002

"Garofalo has a melodic gift and with a bit more experience might have given Respighi a run for his money."

Michael Jameson, February 2002

"The 'Romantic' symphony by Carlo Garofalo (1886-1962) was revived under Joel Spiegelman in Moscow in June, 1994; this was only the second time that the 40-minute-long composition (admired by Toscanini and Nikisch) had been performed. It requires a large orchestra, and in overall structure, sonority, and instrumentation it's frequently suggestive of Bruckner. The opening Largo sets a mood of deep concentration and leads to a sonata-form Allegro moderato. The slow movement (Andante) is placed second, before a massive Scherzo (where Bruckner's influence comes most strongly to the fore) and a tripartite finale. The symphony ends as it began, in a mood of static contemplation.

Also receiving its world-premiere recording here is Garofalo's violin concerto, which soloist Sergei Stadler plays with insight, energy, and impressive skill. It's an equally lavish and expansive piece, cast in characteristically Germanic colors and with an extravagantly difficult solo part. Both works receive fine performances, and the level of commitment and attentiveness that Spiegelman secures from his players guarantees a compelling and fascinating listening experience. The 1999 recording from the Moscow Conservatory Great Hall has rich amplitude and abundant orchestral detailing."

Roy D. Brewer

"It is difficult not to treat this disc as a curiosity, but it deserves better. Garofalo is now a forgotten name (it does not appear in my recent edition of Grove) and, though he composed a considerable quantity of sacred and secular music and a large scale comic opera, The Juggler (never staged), his works are virtually unknown to present-day audiences. The only performance since 1915 of the Romantic Symphony took place in Moscow under Spiegelman (who rediscovered the full score) in 1994, though conductors of the status of Nikisch, Toscanini and Serafin are said to have been great admirers.

In many respects the fate that overtook these ambitious works was predictable. They appeared in the wake of such great nineteenth century Romantics as Tchaikovsky, Brahms and Bruckner. By the twentieth century Mahler, Elgar, Richard Strauss and other bright stars were high in the firmament, and the musical public was turning away from grandiose symphonic gestures to more exotic novelties. In addition Italian composers of this period are not readily identified with the 'Viennese monumental' symphonic traditions in which both these works are clearly planted; for example Respighi - a rival of Garofalo - wisely found his inspiration in the bright colours and drama of his native country...

The playing is sensitive and thrilling - excellently disciplined performances by an orchestra only recently (1999) created through the sponsorship of the Modern Times Group of Sweden. The wide experience of Joel Spiegelman promises to bring international playing standards and discipline which, in recent years, are sometimes lacking in the long-established Moscow-based orchestras."

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3:09:30 PM, 25 May 2016
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