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Rob Maynard
MusicWeb International, December 2016

Two of Rimsky’s symphonies, both long overshadowed by the ever popular Scheherazade, Capriccio Espagnol and the Russian Easter Festival Overture, receive expert performances here. Enhanced by fine Naxos recording, Schwarz’s way with the third symphony, in particular, offers striking and thought-provoking contrasts to the versions that many of us have lived with for years. © 2016 MusicWeb International

Lawrence Hansen
American Record Guide, November 2016

The BRSO may play with a bit less intensity than their counterparts on the earlier Russian recordings, but the performances here are also more polished, perhaps a bit more German sounding, at least in No. 1. Since young Rimsky was certainly following Central European models, this works out well. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Steven Kruger
Fanfare, September 2016

Gerard Schwarz and the Berlin Radio Symphony are definitely in their element addressing the Teutonic side of things. The performances are mellow and right. When we listen to Rimsky’s Third Symphony…we are in more recognizably Russian territory. Winds sound reliably Borodin-like and the scherzo reflects Glazunov’s amiable perky-chug manner. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

David Nice
BBC Music Magazine, September 2016

Rimsky-Korsakov’s two ‘abstract’ symphonies have always stood in the shade of the symphonic suites Antar—officially his Second—and Scheherazade, both of which develop their themes brilliantly within the four-movement form. Gerard Schwarz has already made his mark in both with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, but moving to Berlin’s very fine radio orchestra, he pulls off a trickier feat with seemingly less tractable material. …In the First Symphony, Schwarz not only demonstrates that the third movement is the earliest of 5/4 scherzos which dazzles; the rest of No. 1 is fluent and keen, with an ideal balance between a leonine quality taking greater shape in Borodin’s Second Symphony and a constant sense of forward movement.

The Third’s Andante gets the best makeover of all: clocking in at about two minutes shorter than usual, it now comes across as a graceful dance interlude, a kind of Scene villageoise which even sounds like Massenet or Chabrier at times. Strings are flexible enough to move from vibrato-rich melody to lean rhythmic energy, and the balances are all admirable. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine

Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, July 2016

Though these two symphonies may not be Rimsky-Korsakov’s choicest or most inspiring orchestral works, the playing and recording of them here are excellent on all counts… © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Rob Maynard
MusicWeb International, June 2016

Schwarz’s is a very fine performance indeed.

[He] consistently keeps the music moving briskly along. …It exhibits, moreover, plenty of delicacy and refinement… © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, June 2016

[Gerard Schwarz] shows us that his skills at the podium are still as finely honed as ever in these performances of two much-neglected delights of the Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, in sparkling accounts with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. © 2016 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

Dan Morgan
MusicWeb International, May 2016

More fine Rimsky from Gerard Schwarz… © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Mellor
Classic FM, April 2016

Gerard Schwarz and his fine German orchestra make a compelling case for these symphonies… © 2016 Classic FM Read complete review

Stephen Pritchard
The Guardian, April 2016

…[Rimsky-Korsakov] displayed his mastery of orchestral colour, brought vividly to life here in the Scherzo and in the closing Allegro con spirito, with Gerard Schwarz in total command. © 2016 The Guardian Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2016

For someone as popular as Rimsky-Korsakov, it is strange that his three symphonies are rarely heard, though they have all the ingredients for success. He began the First while still in his teenage years, and though it was to be much revised and re-orchestrated into its present state when he was forty, in its original form it had been well received by his mentors and much praised by Balakirev. The third movement is certainly riveting, and the outer movements have a weight and vigour that you would expect from him, though in terms of melodic invention it is a little deficient. Though he was still using material composed earlier, the Third is a more engaging score, and by moving the scherzo to the position as the second movement brings an early thrust to follow on from the energy of the opening Allegro. The thematic material for the liltingly beautiful Andante has Russian folk-music as its genesis, while the finale mixes drama with a melody that could have come from Borodin’s opera, Prince Igor. Both scores need such precise tempos to lift the notes from the printed page, and in the American conductor, Gerard Schwarz, it has found an ideal advocate, his Berlin orchestra responding with excellent performances. Naxos issued all three symphonies some twenty years ago, and I hope they will now go on to give us a new complete cycle. The sound quality is most pleasing, the release being highly recommended. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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