Composer: Alexander Scriabin
Orchestra: State Academy Symphony Orchestra of Russia
Conductor: Evgeny Svetlanov
SPARS Code: DDD
Number of Discs: 3 CD box set
Format: APE (image+cue)
Size: 963 MB
CD 01 #18
Symphonie № 1 Pour Mezzo, Tenor, Choeur Et Orchestre En Mi Majeur Opus 26
02. Allegro Dramatico
07. Reverie En Ut Majeur Opus 24
CD 02 #19
Symphonie № 2 En Ut Mineur Opus 29
06. “Le Poeme De L’extase” En Mi Bemol Majeur Opus 54
CD 03 #20
Symphonie № 3 En Ut Mineur “Le Divin Poeme “Opus 43
02. Luttes. Allegro
03. Voluptes. Lento
04. Jeu Divin. Allegro
05. “Promethee – Le Poeme Du Feu” Opus 60
What can I say? I really enjoy Svetlanov and I certainly enjoy Scriabin and at the very least I knew this set would be worth hearing and it certainly was. Now, let’s get the silly and inane two-star review here out of the way: “Remastered for radio”???? This is a beautiful remastering, in fact one the best of the Melodiya remasters. As the whether this is Svetlanov’s kind of material, well, that’s all opinion. Here’s my very brief history with the music of Scriabin: I knew and enjoyed Poem of Ecstasy, of course, but I will freely admit I hadn’t a clue as to his other output. So, a month ago I happened to be in a store and the had the Kitajenko set for about twelve bucks – I bought it and listened and it was fantastic – the music, the performance, the sound. So I came here and Google and read up on the other sets. The consensus was the Muti and Ashkenazy sets were the gold standard for these works. But here’s the thing – I keep trying things by these two conductors and I never like them or I find them ordinary. But the raves were so unanimous I went ahead and ordered both. Well, surprise – neither of them, for me, held a candle to the Kitajenko. I found both of them quite boring and sans magic and mystery and I wasn’t crazy about the sound for either. Or maybe it’s like they say – your first is always the most special – but I don’t think so.
So, on to Mr. Svetlanov. He recorded a set in the 1960s on Melodiya which is kind of a must-have (I’ve reviewed that elsewhere). While the sound on the Melodiya set can get a bit edgy in the brass (standard for Melodiya) the remastering actually sounds amazing. Now, those performances are completely different – nothing like the Muti, Ashkenazy, or Kitajenko. The 60s Svetlanov is bold, but also lush and stunning when they need to be. Comparatively, the Kitajenko is softer-edged, warmer, and certainly magical and lush. But I was amazed by the Melodiya set and I know it will bring many hours of joy.
This set was recorded more recently and is very different in tone but no less great. He’s slower here, although still gets the passion when it’s needed, almost as if he were conducting Rachmaninov or similar Russians. It’s all valid and the sound is lovely. I wouldn’t be without either set, frankly. I leave Muti and Ashkenazy to those who appreciate them.