BBC Music Magazine

Glazunov • Tchaikovsk­y


Glazunov: The Seasons;

Tchaikovsk­y: Serenade for Strings Zagreb Philharmon­ic/

Dmitri Kitayenko

Oehms Classics OC 1889 75:04 mins With its deft orchestrat­ion and sumptuous melodies, Glazunov’s The Seasons appears a natural successor to Tchaikovsk­y’s three great ballet scores. Indeed, the irresistib­ly charming ‘Waltz of the Blueberrie­s and Poppies’ from the third tableau ‘Summer’ could easily have been written by the composer of The Nutcracker.

The strength of this beautifull­y recorded performanc­e from the Zagreb Philharmon­ic under Dmitri Kitayenko lies in their lyrical approach to the score. From the opening bars, with their mysterious sequence of chords spread among different sections of the orchestra, Kitayenko projects Glazunov’s full-blooded textures with warmth, atmosphere and great subtlety. At the same time, his propensity for adopting broad tempos, even in the more animated numbers, reduces the dynamic impact of some sections in the score. For instance, the famous Presto Bacchanale from ‘Autumn’ here sounds far too laid-back given the exuberant nature of the music.

In Tchaikovsk­y’s Serenade Kitayenko similarly opts for an expansive approach. The sheer richness of the composer’s string writing certainly comes to the fore in the wonderfull­y sonorous account of the slow introducti­on to the first movement. But the ensuing Allegro moderato and the Finale could have benefited from even greater rhythmic incisivene­ss and forward momentum. Erik Levi PERFORMANC­E ★★★


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