If you like your Glazunov
languid and accentuated then you have
your man in Maestro Otaka. This is certainly
the case with the Fifth Symphony where
he communicates as a Giulini rather
than as a young Bernstein; not that
either conductor would have touched
Glazunov's symphonies - go on surprise
me! Even in the Scherzo of the Fifth
Symphony (amongst the best of the nine
symphonies) Otaka takes his time. The
sparkle of the writing sparkles in slow
motion. I rather miss the effervescence
of Svetlanov, Fedoseyev and Rozhdestvensky.
The rapped out playfulness of the last
movement is also softened - more's the
pity. That said this is recorded in
splendidly etched sound with gallons
When it comes to the
Seventh, occasionally known as The
Pastoral, the overarching tempo
is slow anyway. Otaka's clear-eyed and
carefully controlled view works much
better in this context. The music sings
along in contemplation of rural scenes.
Time and again the pastoral image shared
with Beethoven's Sixth comes home with
strength. The BBC Welsh are an
extraordinary orchestra but I thought
their wind section less than brilliant
at the start of the scherzo.
There are literate
and satisfyingly detailed notes from
This for those who
like their Glazunov considered and languorous.
Otaka's Glazunov mind-set does not,
on this evidence, extend to the sort
of excitable exuberance we get with
Svetlanov, Fedoseyev and Rozhdestvensky.
Glazunov is a composer
well able to delight but the spirit
rather like that in the symphonies of
Bax and Miaskovsky can be elusive. It
is captured only intermittently by Otaka.