José Serebrier is a born conductor of Glazunov’s orchestral music, as this handily priced box (about £18 for nine hours of music) showcases
José Serebrier Warner Classics, out now Glazunov: Complete Symphonies & Concertos
When Tchaikovsky died in 1893, his natural successor as Russia’s premier composer of orchestral music was the now little-remembered Alexander Glazunov.
Glazunov’s First Symphony, composed when he was in his mid-teens, was greeted with astonishment when a boy in school uniform stood up to receive the audience’s acclaim. His teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov, said the young Glazunov developed not by the month, not by the week, but by the hour.
In a long career, Glazunov finished eight symphonies and embarked on a ninth, and wrote celebrated ballets, notably Raymonda and The Seasons featured here.
José Serebrier, a pupil of the legendary Leopold Stokowski, is a born conductor of this kind of music. Never heard it better
There was also a well-received violin concerto, two neglected piano concertos, and an excellent saxophone concerto that should be more often heard.
All of Glazunov’s music is beautifully crafted, full of great tunes, though it lacks real depth. But that won’t matter to those of us who love a big melody, beautifully dished up.
This handily priced box (about £18 for nine hours of music) features the exceptional veteran José Serebrier, a pupil of the legendary Leopold Stokowski and a born conductor of this kind of music. Never heard it better.
IT’S A FACT
Glazunov’s student, Shostakovich, was notoriously fastidious, and would send cards to himself to test how well the postal service was working.
He leads the Royal Scottish National Orchestra through the symphonies, and the Russian National Orchestra through the concertos, in fine modern recordings from between 2004 and 2010.
Glazunov was also a distinguished teacher, and Director of the St Petersburg Conservatory for more than 20 years.
Shostakovich, one of his pupils, left in his memoirs a charming picture of Glazunov, with the old man leaning back in an enormous carved wooden chair, ostensibly listening to his students, but also drinking neat vodka from a concealed straw leading up from a flagon secreted beneath!
Shostakovich thought the world of Glazunov, and maybe we should too. And this set is a great place to start.