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GENNADI ROZHDESTVENSKY CONDUCTS TCHAIKOVSKY AND JANACEK - BELA DAKENY; BBC SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

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Gennadi Rozhdestvensky conducts Tchaikovsky & Janacek

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky

Janáček: Taras Bulba
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64

Gennadi Rozhdestvensky (born in 1931) was appointed assistant conductor at the Bolshoi in 1954 and in 1956 made his first visit to England with the Bolshoi Ballet. He was artistic director of the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra (1961–74) as well as the Bolshoi’s youngest principal conductor (1964–70). Only the most eminent and respected Russian musicians were allowed extensive foreign tours, and Rozhdestvensky was given this status with appearances in Britain, mainly with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and at Covent Garden. In 1971, he conducted the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra at the Proms.

Rozhdestvensky became artistic director of the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (1974–7 and 1991–5), and principal conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (1978–81) and Vienna Symphony Orchestra (1980–82). He worked with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chicago and Cleveland orchestras. He is also the honorary conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra.

Rozhdestvensky is considered to be one of the greatest Tchaikovsky conductors today. Given his Russian background and his outstanding leadership of the Bolshoi in the past, it is not surprising that his performances of the composer’s works are entirely idiomatic.

This live performance of Tchaikovsky’s popular Symphony No.5 comes from the 1978 Flanders Festival in Belgium and has been recorded in excellent stereo. It is both exciting and poetic, and it confirmed Rozhdestvensky’s new appointment as music director of the BBC Symphony the same year.

The fill-up consists of Janáˇcek’s rhapsody Taras Bulba recorded at the 1981 Proms. This work is a new addition to Rozhdestvensky’s discography.

Taras Bulba is arguably Janáˇcek’s most powerful and dramatic work. Here, it is given a searing performance in superb stereo, which fully captures the large orchestra used, complete with organ, brass and percussion.

Rozhdestvensky’s Tchaikovsky Symphony No.4 (ICAC5035) received excellent reviews: ‘Tchaikovsky’s great score, its accents hammered out, its balletic motions subtly turned, is here given a fervent on-the-wing account that compels attention.’ (The Classical Source).


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