Valery Polyansky's Glazunov cycle has had its ups and downs but this new disc featuring the Eighth Symphony could be said to be his best yet.
Viewed by many as his finest and most daring work, Glazunov's Eighth has not received much attention over the years. Svetlanov's Melodiya recording remains top of the pile (if you can find it) whilst Naxos' offering with Anissimov is decidedly low key.
Polyansky finds great energy and thrust in the opening Allegro moderato which sails along at a merry pace. He is also on top of his game in the exquisitely titled, 'Mesto' which has the RSSO showing fine fettle in the almost Prokofieff-like music.
The disc is also valuable for its couplings which include a delightful first recording of the Commemorative Cantata Op. 65 written for the Centenary of Pushkin's birth. This is an overlooked piece that is thoroughly enjoyable and in Polyansky's superb recording, it receives the credit deserved.
Finally, there is the exquisite 'Poeme Lyrique', another lovely piece that shows the composer's strengths in orchestration in another very fine performance. Fond memories of the first hearing of this work would make me want to purchase it for those nostalgic bits so rarely heard.
Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech