Shek: Vasilenko - Chinese Suite, Indian Suite (FLAC)
Shek: Vasilenko - Chinese Suite, Indian Suite (FLAC)

Orchestra: Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Henry Shek
Composer: Sergey Nikiforovich Vasilenko
Audio CD
SPARS Code: DDD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Marco-Polo
Size: 237 MB
Recovery:+3%
Scan: no

# Chinese Suite, Op 60/1
Composed by Sergey Nikiforovich Vasilenko
Performed by Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Henry Shek

# Indian Suite, Op 42bis
Composed by Sergey Nikiforovich Vasilenko
Performed by Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Henry Shek

Colorful music but hardly profound

Sergey Vasilenko (1872-1956) was a well-respected teacher at the Moscow Conservatoire for a generation, particularly recognized for his orchestration classes. He composed in all genres – quite a substantial body of works too – but his compositions seem generally to have sunk without a trace. The disc at hands shows, I suppose, both the strength and limitations of Vasilenko the composer, however. Musically, Vasilenko was fascinated by the music of Asian countries, but none of the music here suggests anything much deeper than a picture-postcard knowledge. The scoring is splendid, and in the manner of Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov; glittering, warm and evocative textures with many intriguing and imaginative choices of instruments.

The themes are less distinguished and few of the melodies rise above the superficially attractive – Rimsky at his less inspired, perhaps (and for some reason I was reminded of Ketelbey at several occasions). Yet Vasilenko’s skill in setting them does to a certain extent save the day, making both works here rather enjoyable if not particularly profound encounters overall. Think of it as superior light music and wallow in the evocative half-lit and exotic textures, and this will provide a rather enjoyable listening experience. The Moscow Symphony Orchestra under Henry Shek acquits themselves well, and the sound quality is certainly not among Marco Polo’s less distinguished efforts. All in all, a rather attractive release if you don’t expect too much of the music.

7 Comments

  1. I downloaded this one a while back when it was up. I’ve listened to it several times since then and enjoy it very much.

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