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Great Conductors of the 20th Century Vol.08 – Nikolai Golovanov

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Great Conductors of the 20th Century Vol.08 – Nikolai Golovanov

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CD1
Alexander Glazunov - Symphonie N 6, Op 58
1. Adagio, Allegro Passionato
2. Tema Con Variazioni... 
3. Intermezzo, Allegretto 
4. Finale, Andante Maestoso 

Felix Mendelssohn - Le Songe D'Une Nuit D'Eté
5. Overture
6. Scherzo

Pyotr Tchaikovsky
7. Ouverture Solennelle "1812", Op 49

Franz Liszt
8. Orpheus, S 98

CD2
Franz Liszt

1. Héroïde Funèbre, S 102
2. Mazeppa, S 100 
3. Fesklange, S 101 
4. Prometheus, S 99 

Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra
Nikolai Golovanov – conductor


The recordings of Nikolai Golovanov have acquired a cult following among specialist collectors, who find his energetic, idiosyncratic interpretations stimulating, different, refreshing, and individual. To my ears, the ratty, constricted, overmodulated sonics and shabby orchestral playing throughout Glazunov’s long-winded Sixth Symphony and the five Liszt symphonic poems are painful to endure. Moreover, Golovanov’s slapdash podium style is not willful or self-aware in the manner of Mengelberg, Stokowski, Celibidache, or Carlos Paita (remember him?) at their looniest, but simply coarse, provincial, vulgar, and about as subtle as a train wreck.

Instead of the shimmering delicacy Szell, Toscanini, and others bring to Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Scherzo, Golovanov’s little elves galavant around like bulls in a china shop. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture reeks to high heaven of crude dynamic and tempo changes (a crass fortissimo instead of a mezzo-forte on the third beat of measure 10; unsubtle speed-ups on long crescendos; a punched-out Allegro Giusto; slurpy articulation at measure 165, to mention just several of too many gaucheries). The composer’s famous “God Save the Czar” quote is purged from the text, as Communist custom dictated. Whoever buys this revolting release deserves it! --- Jed Distler, classicstoday.com

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