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CD Review

Anton Arensky

première Recordings

  • Symphony #1, Op. 4
  • Cantata on the Tenth Anniversary of the Coronation Op. 26
  • Fantasia on Themes by I.T. Ryabinin Op. 48
  • Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky, Op. 65
  • Three Vocal Quartets Op. 57
Tatiana Sharova, soprano
Andrei Baturkin, baritone
Russian State Symphonic Cappella
Russian State Symphony Orchestra/Valeri Polyansky
Chandos CHAN10086 73m DDD
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Polyansky continues to record some great off the beaten track repertoire for Chandos with this latest version of Arensky's First Symphony. The disc also includes a number of rarities that are making it onto disc as first recordings.

I don't recall that Svetlanov's thrilling Melodiya version of this work was ever issued on CD so I believe this has the field to itself, at least for the moment. Polyansky directs with a firm hand and his knowledge of the score is palpably evident in the beautiful First movement with its quirky 'Allegro patetico' tempo.

The work unfolds in Glazunov like fashion with a fiery Finale and the Chandos recording is most certainly beyond reproach. The rest of the disc is full of some very rare items especially the Cantata on the Tenth Anniversary of the Coronation which is a rousing piece that deserves the occasional run through.

The Tchaikovsky Variations are also very well done with the orchestra playing with vigour and panache in a highly recommendable version. I also enjoyed the rare Vocal Quartets which have the choir on top form. This is an outstanding disc for all who love the Russian repertoire.

Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech