Loris Tjeknavorian, National Philharmonic Orchestra - Alexander Borodin: Symphonies Nos. 1-3 (2004)

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Loris Tjeknavorian, National Philharmonic Orchestra - Alexander Borodin: Symphonies Nos. 1-3 (2004)

Alexander Borodin - Symphonies Nos. 1-3 (2004)
National Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Loris Tjeknavorian

EAC | FLAC | Tracks (Cue&Log) ~ 410 Mb (incl 5%) | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 211 Mb (incl 5%) | Scans included
Genre: Classical | Label: RCA Red Seal | # 82876-62321-2 | Time: 01:18:58

Borodin’s First Symphony isn’t especially interesting, but his Second is a masterpiece, tightly constructed, brilliantly orchestrated, and tunefully delightful. It’s really the only work of its period to rank with the symphonies of Tchaikovsky (along with, possibly, Balakirev’s First), and Tjeknavorian’s performance of it, indeed of all three works, is outstanding. He doesn’t fuss with or manipulate tempos or textures, preferring instead to keep the music moving energetically and allowing the musicians of the National Philharmonic to inject as much color and vitality as possible. The scherzo flashes by like lightning, the slow movement is aptly seductive, and the finale dazzles. As I suggested, the other two works are less obviously successful, but the performances are no less adept. Produced by Charles Gerhardt, we can expect fine sonics, and that’s just what RCA delivers. In this music, you won’t find better.

Review by David Hurwitz, Classics Today

This is classic Borodin. Tjeknavorian’s vision of these works is neither tame nor picturesque. He directs performances that are virile and pumped up with a peculiar excitement whether in the quicker more passionate music or in the dreamy steppe reflections of the No. 1’s andantino, No. 2’s andante and No. 3’s lovingly shaped moderato assai.

Tjeknavorian is aided by a world class orchestra of freelances hand-picked by its leader Sidney Sax. That exceptionally gifted conductor and producer Charles Gerhardt oversaw the sessions in London’s Kingsway Hall. Kenneth E. Wilkinson (assisted by Martin Atkinson) worked his control-board magic over the proceedings. The hall’s fabled acoustics again come into their own even if we have to make the occasional trivial concession when the low rumble of London traffic can be heard in some quiet moments when setting the volume at close to full blast. Speaking of which listen to the extraordinary crashingly rumbustious full tilt tumult at 5.50 onwards in the finale of the Second Symphony.

Time has made few inroads into the splendid sound secured for those original analogue-captured sessions. A steely glare obtrudes at moments of climactic oration by massed violins. Otherwise the sound, though not as ‘drenched’ as ASV’s for the Tjeknavorian’s Yerevan sessions, is full of colour and life with a specially gripping bass extension and forward voicing for the solo woodwind. Listen to the prominently growling and barking trombones at the end of the first and final movements of the First Symphony. The bright-eyed woodwind can be sampled in the second movement of No. 1 and also throughout the Third Symphony - a work of infectious and eager pleasures. The robustly chesty playing of the full string body in the First Symphony’s andantino is impressively weighted. As for the finale Tjeknavorian surprised me by reminding me of Beethoven’s Seventh perhaps as whipped to frenzy by Carlos Kleiber (DG). Nothing is on autopilot, accents and emphases are part of the conductor’s stock-in-trade yet it does not feel as if the work is being pulled about.

These recordings were first issued as part of a 3 LP set in August 1977. I still have that RCA box (RL25098). These were later reissued in part on two RCA LPs: RL25322; RL25225. Despite the excellence of the recordings and performances the set has never been reissued complete on CD. In 1991 RCA issued the Second Symphony, Central Asia and the Prince Igor orchestral-choral ‘plums’ on Silver Seal 9026-60535-2. I know about that disc because of the open-handed kindness of one of the many friends I have met through this site. Apart from that there has been nothing else at all. Here after pleadings to BMG in the UK appear all three symphonies in a package that you should snap up very quickly indeed. We now need to extend our pleas for reissues of Tjeknavorian’s complete Khachaturian Gayaneh. Please BMG do not even think of issuing highlights; we need the full ballet. I should also commend his Sibelius 4 and 5. I hope that the success of this handsome disc will also cause the companies to take Tjeknavorian back into the studio again.

The capable and informative notes are by Richard Freed. At 79 minutes you can hardly ask for more music and on top of which the coupling is the ultimate in logic: all three Borodin symphonies performed with affection and passion - all in one package. Tjeknavorian is an extraordinary musician blending the hothouse heritages of Golovanov and Svetlanov on the one hand and on the other Silvestri and Stokowski on their best days. Be sure to add this to your must-have list.

Review by Rob Barnett,

Recorded in 1977 and reissued in 2004, this album of Borodin's three symphonies merits serious attention for its solid interpretations, warm performances, and fine sound, and proves its worth on repeated listening. Loris Tjeknavorian and the National Philharmonic Orchestra devote considerable energy to the rugged Symphony No. 1 in E flat, an optimistic work that features some of the orientalism that would later become Borodin's hallmark. The orchestra is muscular and confident, and Tjeknavorian brings out the work's exoticism while maintaining formal structure through vigorous pacing. Best-known of the three symphonies, the Symphony No. 2 in B minor may sound familiar from its use in the musical Kismet. Its bold opening reveals the mature composer's taste for Asian motives and sudden contrasts of mood, and both contribute significantly to the work's excitement and charm. Conductor and orchestra are at their most vibrant in this full-blooded performance, and Borodin's sumptuous music bursts with dazzling color. The unfinished Symphony No. 3 in A minor may be the least satisfying work of the disc, even though the Scherzo has an impressive ending by Glazunov. But its lush orchestration and tender melodies make it an appealing treat, in spite of its truncation, and the musicians bring it off with great panache.

Review by Blair Sanderson,

Loris Tjeknavorian, National Philharmonic Orchestra - Alexander Borodin: Symphonies Nos. 1-3 (2004)

Loris Tjeknavorian, National Philharmonic Orchestra - Alexander Borodin: Symphonies Nos. 1-3 (2004)


01. No.1 - Adagio - Allegro - Andantino (12:51)
02. No.1 - Scherzo: Prestissimo - Trio: Allegro (07:28)
03. No.1 - Andantino (06:45)
04. No.1 - Allegro molto vivo (06:13)

05. No.2 - Allegro (07:05)
06. No.2 - Scherzo: Prestissimo - Trio: Allegretto (04:33)
07. No.2 - Andante (08:34)
08. No.2 - Finale: Allegro (06:28)

09. No.3 - Moderato assai (09:19)
10. No.3 - Scherzo: Vivo - Trio: Moderato (09:37)

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Borodin, Alexander / Symphonies - National Philharmonic Orchestra, Loris Tjeknavorian

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foobar2000 1.2 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2016-04-05 15:02:26

Analyzed: Borodin, Alexander / Symphonies - National Philharmonic Orchestra, Loris Tjeknavorian

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
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DR14 -0.10 dB -20.21 dB 7:28 02-No.1 - Scherzo: Prestissimo - Trio: Allegro
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DR13 -0.93 dB -19.48 dB 9:19 09-No.3 - Moderato assai
DR13 -0.72 dB -19.81 dB 9:38 10-No.3 - Scherzo: Vivo - Trio: Moderato

Number of tracks: 10
Official DR value: DR13

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 16
Bitrate: 660 kbps
Codec: FLAC

Loris Tjeknavorian, National Philharmonic Orchestra - Alexander Borodin: Symphonies Nos. 1-3 (2004)

Loris Tjeknavorian, National Philharmonic Orchestra - Alexander Borodin: Symphonies Nos. 1-3 (2004)

All thanks to original releaser - quivive

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