Borodin’s splendid epic of Old Russia was recorded in Paris in 1966 with the forces of Sofia National Opera, conducted by Polish-born Jerzy Semkow, a protégé of the legendary Russian maestro Yevgeny Mravinsky. The great Bulgarian bass Boris Christoff, a master of vocal characterisation, takes two roles: Prince Igor’s wicked brother-in-law Prince Galitsky and the surprisingly benign Khan Konchak, who famously commands his people, the Polovtsy, to dance for his noble Russian prisoner of war.
For the first time in nearly 100 years, Borodin’s defining Russian epic, famous for its Polovtsian Dances, comes to the MET.
The result is attractive and gripping because the production knows what it wants to see (personal psychodrama than Kismet-style pseudo-orientalism)…Both Ildar Abdrazakov…and Oksana Dyka inhabit these roles with vocal agility and, in their acting, a refreshing lack of the old-fashioned hamminess that used to pass for charisma in 19th-century Russian opera. (Gramophone)
Valery Gergiev directs the Kirov Opera and Ballet in this magnificent 1998 production of Borodin’s "Prince Igor", presented in a new Mariinsky Theatre performing edition and featuring Mikhail Fokine’s original choreography in the famous Polovtsian Dances. Its four acts tell of the struggle between the Russians and Polovtsian nomads, of Prince Igor’s capture and escape from his noble opponent, Khan Konchak, and of love between Igor’s son, Vladimir, and Konchak’s daughter, Konchakovna.
Igor Stravinsky The Complete Columbia Album Collection is an unprecedented reissue of the complete recordings of his works that Igor Stravinsky made for CBS/American Columbia, bringing together for the very first time on CD all of the mono "Stravinsky conducts Stravinsky" recordings issued in the 1940s and 1950s alongside the more familiar stereo remakes from the 1960s, as well as all the authorized performances that Stravinsky's assistant Robert Craft conducted for the label in the composer's presence, after age and infirmity had restricted his own ability to do so.
Works of Igor Stravinsky is a massive set: 22 CDs of performances of Rite of Spring, Petrouschka, L'Histoire du soldat, Symphony in E-Flat, The Rake's Progress and more under the direction of the composer, with additional performances by his disciple Robert Craft under Stravinsky's supervision, and a disc (the Sympony in E-Flat disc, actually) that includes recordings of rehearsals and Stravinsky discussing his own music.
Borodin’s First Symphony isn’t especially interesting, but his Second is a masterpiece, tightly constructed, brilliantly orchestrated, and tunefully delightful. It’s really the only work of its period to rank with the symphonies of Tchaikovsky (along with, possibly, Balakirev’s First), and Tjeknavorian’s performance of it, indeed of all three works, is outstanding. He doesn’t fuss with or manipulate tempos or textures, preferring instead to keep the music moving energetically and allowing the musicians of the National Philharmonic to inject as much color and vitality as possible. The scherzo flashes by like lightning, the slow movement is aptly seductive, and the finale dazzles. As I suggested, the other two works are less obviously successful, but the performances are no less adept. Produced by Charles Gerhardt, we can expect fine sonics, and that’s just what RCA delivers. In this music, you won’t find better.
A true celebration, ushering in the New Year with one of the finest orchestras and greatest conductors in the world. The 2007 Gala from Berlin features the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle in Alexander Borodin's Second Symphony, a richly lyrical work of immense poetic grandeur and fairy-tale magic, in a programme that also includes one of the greatest classical hits ever: Modest Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition'.
According to classical music specialists, a good performance of Scheherazade requires a top notch orchestra, great conducting, and outstanding individual performance, as well as timing since there is a definite storyline to follow. Flaws on any orchestral department, will be "merciless exposed" along the score. The Chicago Symphony, to many, the most european sounding of all american orchestras, meets all these requirements, as does Ozawa, who knows this score well. It was my first recording of the work and I always go back to it, since has a perfectly well chosen tempo, the solo violin is sweet and umpretentious, and the sound although not as dramatic as others, offers a very "symphonic" account, which always satisfies. The coupling of Borodin is more than adequate and great music too.