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Steven J. Haller
American Record Guide, May 2012

Certainly Andrew Davis delivers a rugged and splashy account of the First Symphony everywhere…Davis lopes along good-naturedly in the opening movement and isn’t afraid to linger affectionately where called for; he obtains enthusiastic playing from the Toronto musicians, including the robust low brass…The infectious Scherzo is fielded nimbly by the expert string players, with manifold decorative touches by the winds; and Davis is clearly caught up in the heartfelt yearning of the Andante…A terse and invigorating finale builds to an emotionally satisfying display by the brass to close out a highly enjoyable reading of Borodin’s unjustly neglected first effort.

In the glorious and thoroughly Russian Bminor Symphony…there is everywhere a sense of Old Mother Russia entirely absent from most other performances. The Andante may well be Borodin’s most memorable melody (with all due respect to ‘Stranger in Paradise’) and the Toronto horn player does an admirable job; clearly Davis feels this music deeply and guides his men through a noble and impassioned climax, lingering at the close before plunging head first into the brash and explosive finale. If you prefer an impetuous opening sally, you’ll find Davis’s performance well worth investigating.

Davis’s rugged and richly colored sampling leaves one wanting more; though I’m not sure what language the chorus is singing…Finally, Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic amble amiably across the Steppes of Central Asia to complete the evening’s entertainment.

If you want a good deal on the Borodin symphonies, Schwarz on Naxos is still the way to go; but if you don’t mind spending a few bucks more, this Newton reissue that gives you music from Prince Igor as well is definitely worth looking into. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, February 2012

These remain alertly emphatic versions with an orchestra notably on top form and seemingly blooming under Davis’s direction. The readings are vivacious and poetic…a choice that is both sure-footed and brilliant. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review, February 2012

Davis has clearly studied these scores: he appreciates them and pays close attention to the composer’s intentions in tempos, dynamics and contrasts among orchestral sections…Davis’ Borodin is more musicianly and more appealing in its straightforward approach to the symphonies…the clarity of the Canadian orchestra is a big plus here…the players’ skill and their excellent ensemble are evident throughout. The result is a First that strides nobly forward and is never less than compelling; a Second that is tightly knit, dramatic and cogent; and a foreshortened Third with pleasant chamber-music qualities that will make any listener familiar with the work regret, probably not for the first time, that only two movements of this symphony survive. © 2012 Read complete review

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10:02:36 PM, 27 March 2015
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