“Like so many young music students, I fell in love with the most famous works of Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Russian Easter and Capriccio espagnol. My real education about this remarkable composer occurred when Klaus Heymann asked me to record two CDs of his music, one of Scheherazade and Tsar Saltan, and one of Capriccio espagnol, plus various overtures. He was a real master and wrote wonderful music, not just wonderfully orchestrated, but music of depth, passion and excitement. Mr. Heymann and I were interested in continuing this exploration with his three symphonies and his Sinfonietta - again, great works with little exposure. Our new recording this month presents his Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3, and what a joy it is to bring these masterpieces to life with the absolutely wonderful Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.”
Begun when he was a seventeen-year-old naval cadet, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Symphony No. 1 was hailed by the nationalist group ‘The Five’ as the first truly Russian symphony, in contrast with the German-influenced music of Anton Rubinstein. With its use of Russian folk-songs, this is a work of remarkable natural talent, justifying the early enthusiasm of Balakirev. Symphony No. 3, cast in a thoroughly Russian musical language, is notable not only for its significantly enhanced technical competence but for its great rhythmic vitality and subtle orchestration.
Listen to an extract from Symphony No. 3:
II. Scherzo: Vivo
Listen to Raymond Bisha's podcast
about this new release
About the Artists
Internationally recognised for his innovative programming and extensive catalogue of recordings, American conductor Gerard Schwarz serves as music director of the All-Star Orchestra and the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra and is conductor laureate of the Seattle Symphony. In his nearly five decades as a respected classical musician and conductor, Schwarz has received hundreds of honours and accolades including Emmy Awards, GRAMMY® nominations, ASCAP Awards and the Ditson Conductor’s Award.
The Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra dates back to the beginnings of music broadcasting in 1923. The orchestra’s chief conductors, including Sergiu Celibidache, Eugen Jochum and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, have all helped to create the ensemble’s exceptional sound. Since its foundation, important composers such as Sergey Prokofiev, Richard Strauss and Igor Stravinsky have conducted the orchestra as well as promising young conductors such as Andris Nelsons, Vasily Petrenko, Jakub Hrůša and Lahav Shani.
Other recordings of music by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov
“Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony are in incredibly fine form with this repertoire”
“This is a delicious orchestral feast.”
– Classic FM ★★★★★
“Schwarz’s guiding hand gives the music a strong and coherent shape.”
“The entire opera is conducted with considerable panache by Alexander Vedernikov.”
– Opera News
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