5 CDs for the price of 2
At the age of 16, Glazunov was hailed as the promise of a bright future for Russian music. ‘This boy will put us all in the shade’, predicted Borodin. Some 30 years later he had become the embodiment of stale tradition, at least according to the recollections of Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Shostakovich, who all encountered him as budding composers. As always, the truth lies somewhere between the two – as do the eight symphonies that he composed between 1881 and1906 and that are brought together in this set of discs. This period more or less coincides with Glazunov’s effective career as a composer – even though he lived for another 30 years – and within it he created ‘a large body of work that deserves serious attention not just for its fine construction and fusion of many contemporary currents, but for a truly individual voice that can be satisfying at the highest level’ to quote from the informed liner notes by Andrew Huth.
The recordings included in this set were released separately between 2002 and 2004, and met with very positive reviews at the time. Thus the BBC Music Magazine considered Tadaaki Otaka’s recording of Symphony No.3 ‘a necessary instalment if you're out to collect a first-rate Glazunov cycle’, elected his interpretation of the Fifth ‘Benchmark recording’, and called the Eighth ‘the most handsome … currently in the catalogue’. Other reviewers agreed, describing the contribution made by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales as ‘lively, clear-textured, and radiantly coloured’ while also underlining the importance of ‘the broad, deep sound picture’ and the ‘euphonious recording’ for the success of this cycle.