Les Ruses d’amour/Glazunov

January 23, 2010

This CD, the 19th in the Naxos series of Glazunov recordings, was originally a 1992 Marco Polo release(8.220485), being recorded in 1986.

Alexander Glazunov was a talented prolific Russian composer who never achieved the popularity of Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, or Shostakovich. While his style is recognizable to the avid listener he certainly didn’t have the orchestral ability of Rimsky-Korsakov or the talent to compose melodies like Tchaikovsky or the versatility of Shostakovich. Still he had a style that this reviewer has always found pleasing to the ear and easy to listen to, making a considerable contribution to Russian classical music.

Les Ruses d’amour, also known as Lady- Soubrette or The Trial of Damis, was a one act ballet written in 1898 with choreography and story by Marius Petipa. This work is approximately at the halfway point in Glazunov’s 50+ years of composing. Even though this is a choreographic realization of French rococo and the delicate opening theme is a French dance melody, this one act ballet is very Glazunov sounding in terms of his “Russian” sound, arranging, and orchestration. One would definitely not mistake this work for anything European! It doesn’t have the heavy Russian sound of many of his other works but there is little doubt where it came from.

The 50+ minute work flows nicely as it tells the story of a daughter of a duchess who pretends to be a common maid in order to test the love of the man she is bethrothed to. The mixture of music ranges from baroque (sarabande), a wonderful puppet dance, a proud march, grand waltz, Tchaikovsky imitating (Scene VI, Marcia), romantic gypsy violin, and a rousing finale. Even though there are many styles and tempos, the music paints a wonderful color and flows quite nicely. The 15 tracks combine material compared to the 21 tracks of the Lady- Soubrette recording on Melodiya with Svetlanov conducting the USSR Symphony Orchestra. Both recordings have good sound but the attractive lower price of Naxos is always a factor.

While this work is certainly nothing groundbreaking, the Glazunov listener will find this a welcome addition to his collection and ballet fans will find it enjoyable.

Track Listing:

Romanian State Orchestra

Andreescu, Horia, Conductor

Naxos 8.572447

1. Introduction et Scene I 00:05:11

2. Recitatif mimique 00:02:35

3. Sarabande 00:02:19

4. Farandole et Scene II 00:03:09

5. Danse des marionettes 00:04:04

6. Scene III 00:02:55

7. Scenes IV et V 00:02:55

8. Variation 00:01:00

9. Scene VI: Marcia 00:02:48

10. Scene VII: Grande Valse 00:07:17

11. Scenes VIII – XI 00:03:33

12. Ballabile des paysans et des paysannes 00:04:21

13. Grand pas des fiances 00:04:06

14. Variation 00:01:56

15. La Fricassee 00:02:46

Total Playing Time: 00:50:55

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