Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Symphony No.6 in C minor,Op. 58. The Forest, Op. 19.
Moscow Symphony Orchestra/Alexander Anissimov.
Naxos 8.554293 [DDD] [59'10].

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Reckoned by Rimsky-Korsakov, on its first performance, to be the highest point in Glazunov's development, the Sixth Symphony is from Glazunov's years of maturity. The first movement is given a cracking performance with the brass granted a saw-toothed edge and some satisfying presence. The Brahmsian breadth of melody at 8.43 (track 1) needs more lift and drive. Rather like Bax (himself a fan of the Russian's music) Glazunov benefits from keeping the momentum up. The recall of Tchaikovsky 4 is palpable in the clash of the last pages of the first movement. The theme and variations are frankly undistinguished - not Anissimov's fault. The musette-like Intermezzo is kin to the lighter ballet music like The Seasons. The finale is triumphant without the angst of Tchaikovsky. Its tramping victory may recapture Rachmaninov's First Symphony but it would have benefited from tenser direction. The Polyansky series on Chandos also suffers in this way. Järvi, Rozhdestvensky (Olympia) and, if I recall correctly, from an old EMI-Melodiya LP, Fedoseyev, have a better grip. I noted a strange bump (edit presumably) at 5.22 in the first movement.

The Forest is called a 'fantasy' but it is simply another rather good tone poem like The Sea. The writing is inspired - strong on arboreal shadows and shafts of sunlight. The orchestral fabric is of a satin transparency and the themes are liquid. Works such as this laid the foundations for French impressionism and for the works of Delius and Bax (Nympholept and Happy Forest). This is at the same time one of the composer's most nationalistic works (Borodin and Rimsky hallmarks).

Decent notes by Marco Polo/Naxos stalwart, Keith Anderson whose name has graced their releases since their entry in the lists in the early 1980s on LP.

A decent entry in the Naxos Glazunov series (vol. 13) - strong for The Forest and the first movement of the symphony.


Rob Barnett

See also reviews by Ian Lace and Colin Clarke


Rob Barnett

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