A. Glazunov's Symphony No.8 (Op.83,1906) is his last one and "the most perfect one", says Evgeni Svetlanov. The Symphony is full of meditations of essence of life and existence of all alive.
At the end of the score Glazunov wrote "finished on the 18th of October, 1905 the day of granting Russian people freedom or, better to say, peaceful winning this freedom".
True to A. Glazunov's vital and creative optimism the development of the 8th Symphony ends with the triumph of will, light and reason.
The work which conductor Evgeni Svetlanov has been carrying on together with the USSR Symphony Orchestra has no analogy in the recording business. They have recorded "Anthology of Russian Symphony Music", and all symphonies by A. Glazunov concluded this unique work.
"Karelian Legend" (Op.99,1916) is one of the last works by A. Glazunov. Karelian folk fairy-tales inspired the composer to write it. Music of the Legend is remarkable for its splendour and ornament. Here Glazunov used various orchestral effects being in perfect command of them.
Symphony No.6 (Op.58, 1896) created by A. Glazunov only a year after Symphony No.5, is distinguished among his other symphonies by its dramatic psychology, passionate agitation, particularly in the 1st movement. The 2nd and 3rd movements — Tema con variazioni and Intermezzo — are distinguished by light and clearness of colouring, even by a slight touch of chamber. The CD also features the symphonic miniatures by A. Glazunov: arrangement of «Volga Boatmen's Song» (1905), Serenade No.1 (Op.7) one of the earliest works of the composer, dated back to 1883 and Characteristic Dance (Op.68) composed in 1899.
Symphony No.3 (Op.33, 1890) is the only lyrical symphony in A. Glazunov's heritage. Its genre peculiarity reveals itself already in dedication to P. Tchaikovsky, one of the teachers of the composer, whose influence is felt both in the compositional structure of the whole cycle and in its separate parts. One can trace a certain analogy with Symphony No.4 by P. Tchaikovsky. The interpretation of Symphony No.3 by A. Glazunov given on this CD suggests the same idea.
Symphony No.2 (Op.16, 1886) was composed by A. Glazunov under the influence of symphonic works by A. Borodin. E. Svetlanov characterizes the symphony in the following way: „…heroic scope, undoubtedly coming from Borodin, will be later revealed in a remarkable poem "Stenka Razin". One is tempted to call Symphony No. 2 "Volzhskaya'".
Philippe Herreweghe directs these Schumann concertos with severity and urgency, with an impact that’s particularly strong in the opening movement of the A minor piano concerto. The soloist is Andreas Staier, who plays a mid-19th century J.B. Streicher instrument. But it’s not just the use of period instruments (this is certainly the kind of piano Schumann would have known) that proves so fascinating here; rather, it’s the minutely detailed way in which soloist and conductor interact during this performance. Note, for instance, how astutely Herreweghe’s wind players articulate the sorrowful first subject group after the soloist’s opening salvo, a passage that sets the tone for all that follows.