HumanitiesWeb.org - The Father of Russian Music - Mikhail Glinka [Recommended Recordings]
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26 June, 2013

Mikhail Glinka
Recommended Recordings



A Life for the Tsar
(Stoil Georgiev, Boris Martinovich, et al; Sofia Festival Orchestra, Sofia National Opera Chorus; Emil Tchakarov, conductor)


Complete Piano Music Vol 1
(Victor Ryabchikov)
Glinka found his true voice as a composer only after he began using Russian folk music as his inspiration. He then became the founder of the Russian national school and might have been the first nationalist composer anywhere. Most of this piano music was written before Glinka's great discovery, and despite Victor Ryabchikov's fervent program notes in support of the music, it isn't very significant. Until his great revelation, Glinka wrote talented, entertaining salon music, nothing more. If you're interested enough in the composer to want to hear these mostly early works, though, Ryabchikov is an outstanding advocate, playing with obvious commitment, a wide range of tonal color, and the kind of expression you'd want to hear in Chopin's music. Beautiful recorded sound quality, too. (review by Leslie Gerber)

Ruslan and Lyudmila
(Genadij Bezzubenkov, Irina Bogachova, et al; Kirov Theater Chorus, Kirov Theater Orchestra; Valery Gergiev, conductor)
This recording of Glinka's melodically marvellous but dramatically lacking fairy tale opera offers outstanding singing and conducting, a thoroughly idiomatic performance, and modern sound, all of which combine to make it the preferred edition. The only problem, and it's a minor one, is occasional intrusive noise from the house and stage--this is a live recording. For most listeners, the greater intensity of a live performance over a studio recording will overcome that objection. Anna Netrebko's Lyudmila is clear-voiced and winning; Vladimir Ognovienko has a typically back-of-the-throat Slavic production that is not a problem in this repertoire. Conductor Valery Gergiev offers one of his best performances in this series. (review by Sarah Bryan Miller)

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