Post by email@example.com Post by Michael Schaffer Post by Nats
Anyone recommend a version of this classic? Ive loved the music since I
heard it when quite young and have necver founf the version I had then
qwhich was excellant. Anyone care to comment on which they think is the best
recording? I think the one I liked might have been by the Berlin
Philharmonic Orchestra but Im not sure.
The music appears in the new Civilization 4 game and prompted me to look for
'It's life, Jim, but not as we know it'
I don't know a lot of Sheherazade recordings since I don't listen to
the piece very often. One recording I have and like a lot is
Temirkanov/NYP (coupled with Russian Easter, on RCA) which features
some remarkable solo playing. The bassoon solo in the second movement
is stunningly good. You probably look for more in this piece than great
bassoon playing, but it is so good, if you get a chance to hear the
disc, check it out.
The only other recordings I have are WP/Ozawa (Philips) which I can't
recommend. The playing is predictably very good, but the piece just
strolls along. Ozawa doesn't seem to be very interested in the music.
I also have a recording with Oistrakh playing the solo part with the
Bolshoi Orchestra under Golovanov in surprisingly good 40s mono sound.
What do you think of the Golovanov?
Ozawa has made at least 3 recordings of this piece. The first two are
quite good, and the second in particular features the BSO, which means
it features the clarinet of Harold Wright, which means it is a
mandatory purchase. This is no more far-fetched than getting the first
one because it features a certain trumpet player. Or getting the
Temirkanov to hear bassoonist Judith LeClair, or the Muti recording to
hear the oboe solos with Richard Woodhams. I mean, aren't these great
woodwind and brass parts the reason people like me will easily acquire
15 or 20 recordings of this work even if it is not desirable to listen
to it very often?
Violin solos? There are violin solos in this piece?
The recording with Oistrakh and Golovanov is pretty good. Not
surprisingly, the violin solos are played very well, and the playing of
the orchestra in general is disciplined and has a lot of rhythmic
energy and typical Russian sonorities directed in a straightforward
manner by Golovanov. Like I said, it sounds really good for a recording
of that age and as such is a valuable document of that particular
orchestral style. There are some great moments, like at the end of the
second part when the horn plays even the stopped echo passage with the
typical Russian horn vibrato.
You have a point of course about the relevance of the wind playing for
collectors specifically interested in that area. Actually, I mostly got
the Ozawa disc because of the orchestra and because I wanted to hear
the Viennese trombones in "Russian Easter". Which Ozawa doesn't really
let happen in the great chorale passage shortly before the end.
Relistening to it a bit, I have to admit my criticism may have been too
negative. The playing really is extremely good, and that is a big part
of the fun in listening to such showcase pieces, and there is rather
more attention to detail than I had appreciated during the first
listening session. The sound is quite good, but a little bit veiled and
muffled with a boxy feeling to it. That spoils the listening fun a bit.
It's a live recording with applause, BTW.