The Best of Rimsky-Korsakov

August 5, 2010

“Best Of” for a composer will never be for a seasoned collector as this person has recordings of nearly all of the material in the CD. One can usually surmise that a serious enthusiast has sought out the recording with the highest recommendation from publications such as The Penguin Guide or other listeners. This person has likely already put together his own “Best Of” CD. If you find yourself in this category you can stop reading and go onto something else. This, along with the entire series of thirty-five “Best Of” CD’s from Naxos is not for you. However if you’re new to the world of classical and want to explore the marvelous work of Rimsky-Korsakov your looking at the right CD!

Nikolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) served in the Russian navy and with the encouragement of his mentor Balakirev, a member of “The Five,” pursued his musical education. He taught at the St. Petersburg Conservatory from 1871 till “Bloody Sunday” in 1905 when he was dismissed for political involvement. Many of his students also went on to successful careers in music. He taught Glazunov, Respighi, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Myaskovsky, and Lyadov among so many. While he composed operas, chamber music, songs and choral music it is his orchestral material that he is at the front of the line including Scheherazade, Capriccio Espagnol, Russian Easter Festival, and Antar all represented on this CD. And yes his famous “Flight of the Bumble-Bee,” template for the Green Hornet theme, and used in numerous cartoons and films is included. Also included is a duet arrangement by Kreisler for violin and piano of the “Hindu Song,” well known as “The Song of India” made famous by Tommy Dorsey.

If Rimsky-Korsakov is new to you this is definitely a recording that is worth exploring to introduce you to a wonderful composer.

Discography of Complete Naxos Recordings in The Best of Rimsky-Korsakov (8.556674)

Russian Easter Festival Overture and Capriccio Espagnol included on The Best of are complete.

1….Symphony No. 2, Op. 9 “Antar” Andre Anichanov conducts the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra (8.550811) (Also includes Symphony No.1)

2….Scheherazade, Symphonic Suite, Op. 35* Enrique Batiz conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra, London (8.550726) (Also includes The Tale of Tsar Saltan, Op. 57 but the Flight of the Bumble-Bee is not included)

3….Snow Maiden: Suite and Mlada: Suite Donald Johanos conducts the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra (8.550486) (Also includes The Golden Cockerel (Le coq d’or):Suite)

*A recommended recording

Track Listing:

1-5…. Capriccio Espagnol (17:35)

6…. Young Prince from Scheherazade (9:52)

7…. Flight of the Bumble Bee (1:31)

8…. Adagio from Antar (9:16)

9…. Dance of the Tumblers from the Snow Maiden (3:47)

10..Hindu Song from Sadko(3:37)

11. Russian Easter Festival Overture (15:36)

12.Cortege from Mlada (5:07)

13.Festival at Baghdad from Scheherazade (11:17)

Total Time= 77:26

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