This box set demonstrates the immense interpretative and commanding powers of the great Evgeny Mravinsky, certainly one of the legendary conductors of his generation. It's a good pen portrait of the conductor in some of his best loved works such as the Tchaikovsky 5th and Shostakovich's massive 12th symphony (here dispatched in an astonishingly quick timing of just under 28 minutes).
But there are also other treasures including some odd numbered Beethoven symphonies and the 'Pastoral' which truly spring to life out of the pages, the finales of the 5th and 7th are certainly cases in point. Mravinsky's Mozart is slightly heavy handed although one cannot begrudge the nobility and pathos which permeates #39. There are also some intriguing excerpts from Glazunov's rarely heard ballet, Raymonda and other short pieces such as Glinka's 'Russlan and Lyudmilla' overture and Mussorgsky's 'Dawn over the Moscow River' by Mussorgsky. I also greatly enjoyed the Wagner excerpts and the set of rehearsals and interview which make up the final disc.
Definitely a set for the Mravinsky enthusiast although the only qualm I have is the rather short timings on almost all discs which rarely go above 50 minutes. However this is definitely a fine memorial to one of the greatest conductors of all time and is amply proved here, not just in the repertoire with which he is mostly associated.
Copyright © 2008, Gerald Fenech