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Prokofiev / Glinka / Borodin, Ernest Ansermet, L'Orchestre De La Suisse Romande

Classical Symphony / March And Scherzo / Kamarinskaïa Fantasy / A Life For The Czar / In The Steppes Of Central Asia

Decca SXL 2292
Release Notes
  • 180 gram LP w/ Standard Sleeve
  • Recording: February and March 1961 at Victoria Hall, Geneva (Switzerland), by Roy Wallace

Thankfully musical genres have been spared from being described with new buzz words such as ‘Kleinkunst’ which could be translated as ‘Small Arts’. But music in small forms – maybe set down on just a few pages of manuscript paper – certainly exists. Prokofiev’s miniature, the “Symphonie classique”, combines several superlatives as regards both its musical notes and form: it is only 15 minutes long, contains a wealth of melodic ideas, and is the most performed of all Prokofiev’s symphonies.

This four-movement composition employs traditional forms such as the sonata form in the outer movements and the pre-Classical dances menuet and gavotte. The work’s carefree esprit, serenade-like humour, and courtly elegance is delightful throughout and culminates in a high-spirited ‘sturm und drang’ Finale.

On the B side is Glinka’s “Kamarinskaya” Fantasia, only eight minutes long but captivating with its extremely closely-knit compositional style, and his Overture to “A Life for the Tsar” – a showpiece whose leitmotifs are truly forward-looking. Alongside these classical-romantic musical gems, Borodin’s “In The Steppes of Central Asia” acts as an ideal programmatic amalgamation of the Orient and the Occident, and fits perfectly into this choice of repertoire.