Hyperion has already recorded Bortkiewicz's Piano Concerto and this coupling of symphonies is now very welcome. The style is very much reminiscent of Glazunov and other similar symphonists such as Lyapunov or Balakirev.
The First Symphony is in D Major and bears the title, 'From my Homeland', this is an overtly patriotic work with a lovely Adagio and a boisterous Finale that ends in typically triumphant fashion.
The Second is in E Flat Major and is more symphonically advanced than the First but I found myself rather watered down by the whole experience. Still, the music is never short of interesting and melodious with Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra playing with utter conviction throughout.
The recording is fine although it can be somewhat dry at times. Recommended to all Russophiles or those with a soft spot for discovering rare orchestral works.
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech