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In May 2013, the Buffalo Philharmonic undertook what was perhaps their most exciting recording project ever: to record Glière’s Symphony No. 3 ‘Il’ya Muromets’ for Naxos. The studio sessions were framed by concerts in Buffalo, plus a further performance in Carnegie Hall at which the orchestra’s thrilling account of the work was particularly well received.

It was only after they had programmed the work that JoAnn Falletta and the BPO realised they had actually chosen a true musical “cult” piece—a work that was deeply beloved, rarely performed, and a “destination” piece for people who travelled from all over to hear it. Inspired by the 10th-century Russian folk character Il’ya Muromets, the Third Symphony is unquestionably Glière’s finest work, and reveals him as one of the greatest Russian composers of all time.

Naxos 8.573161
Reinhold Moritsevich GLIÈRE (1875-1956)
Symphony No. 3 'Il'ya Muromets'

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra • JoAnn Falletta

“The Glière Symphony No 3 has always been a piece that shimmered on my horizon—a cult piece, in a way, renowned as the composer’s towering masterpiece but rarely played in concert. As long as a Mahler symphony and enormous in its instrumental requirements, it was a work that people spoke about reverently but almost never heard live. The recording was an adventure that changed our orchestra, strengthened us, and became an artistic benchmark for our musicians. We revelled in the gorgeous landscape of the Symphony—from mysterious bass murmurings to crushing walls of brass fortissimo to breathtaking impressionistic renderings of forests and birds. We performed and recorded this massive work uncut to preserve Glière’s extraordinary architecture. This work is a cathedral in sound that unfolds in breathtaking swashes of colour, poetry and monumental climaxes.” – JoAnn Falletta

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About the Artists

JoAnn Falletta serves as music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and Virginia Symphony in the United States and principal conductor of the Ulster Orchestra in Northern Ireland. She has guest conducted over a hundred orchestras in North America, and many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa; she is also the principal guest conductor of the Phoenix Symphony and Brevard Music Center of North Carolina. Her Naxos recordings include the double GRAMMY® Award-winning disc of works by John Corigliano and GRAMMY®-nominated discs of works by Tyberg, Dohnányi, Fuchs, Schubert, Respighi, Gershwin, Hailstork and Holst.

Founded in 1935, the GRAMMY® Award-winning Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of music director JoAnn Falletta, is Buffalo’s leading cultural ambassador and presents more than 120 Classics, Pops and Youth Concerts each year. The BPO has toured widely across the United States and Canada. The BPO performed at Carnegie Hall as a participant in the Spring For Music festival in 2013, as one of five orchestras selected from a national field.

Also available

Naxos 8.572303
DOHNANYI, E.: Variations on a Nursery Song
Symphonic Minutes / Suite

Nebolsin, Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta


Ernő Dohnányi had a long career as an important composer, pianist and teacher. Deeply indebted to the Germanic Romantic tradition, the works on this disc showcase his love of scintillating orchestral tone-colour—notably of brass, wind and percussion—and his fascination with Classical forms such as the variation. His Variations on a Nursery Song traverses several musical styles in a tour de force of good-humoured virtuosity, while the Symphonic Minutes and the Suite in F sharp minor cultivate a lush, romantic mood with characteristic dashes of suavity.

Naxos 8.559737
ELLINGTON, D.: Black, Brown and Beige / Harlem / Three Black Kings / The River Suite
Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta

Edward Kennedy ‘Duke’ Ellington wrote some of the twentieth century’s greatest Big Band music, but he also wrote in a variety of forms. The boisterous and evocative Harlem pays tribute to Ellington’s roots, Black, Brown, and Beige sets work songs and spirituals, whilst the suite from The River shows his genius in writing for the stage. Three Black Kings, scored as a ballet, was left unfinished at his death, but shows no lessening of invention. Ellington’s arrangement of Billy Strayhorn’s Take the ‘A’ Train became famous around the world after the outbreak of World War II, and ranks among the most widely recorded standards of all time.

Naxos 8.559705
GERSHWIN, G.: Piano Concerto / Second Rhapsody / I Got Rhythm Variations
Weiss, Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta


George Gershwin’s Concerto in F was a response to demands for a ‘proper concerto’ after the success of Rhapsody in Blue, avoiding programmatic content while providing a feast of tunes both uplifting and nostalgic. Originally intended as music for a film, his up-beat Rhapsody No 2 describes the bustling Manhattan cityscape while under construction. Sourced from his hit musical Girl Crazy, I Got Rhythm Variations was Gershwin’s last full score. Pianist Orion Weiss is one of the most sought-after soloists and collaborators of his generation of young American musicians.

Naxos 8.572323
SUK, J.: Fairy Tale / Fantasy in G Minor / Fantasticke scherzo
M. Ludwig, Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta


Encouraged by Brahms and Dvořák while embracing the innovative influences of Debussy, Mahler and Richard Strauss, Josef Suk ranked among the most important composers of the Romantic Czech school. Suk’s Fantasy carries the listener into the realms of reverie with its virtuosic solo violin and rich orchestration. The magical story of the romance of a dashing young prince, Radúz, who desires the hand of princess Mahulena from a rival mountain kingdom, lies behind Suk’s luxuriantly orchestrated suite Fairy Tale. The Fantastic Scherzo is one of his most evocative works, with a haunting Czech tune on middle strings and cellos that lingers long in the heart.

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