After several years, Warner has returned to their Glazunov cycle with José Serebrier, one of the finest conductors around in this sort of repertoire. The Sixth symphony is a difficult work to bring off in many ways as it has some rather erratic changes of tempo but under Serebrier, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra play with unabashed intensity and superb technical accomplishment.
The First Movement is very direct and the structure is held quite well with the transition from Adagio to Allegro passionate superbly handled. The same goes for the "Tema con variazioni" whilst the Finale is a rip-roaring piece with all guns coming out blazing. Comparisons with Polyansky (Chandos) and Anissimov (Naxos) are instructive but I feel that Serebrier is superior in this work.
Both "The Sea" and the "Salome" excerpts receive carefully attentive treatment with the former particularly atmospheric and picturesque. Recordings are top notch with just the right balance between strings and woodwind although the Scottish acoustic does appear to cloud sometimes. However, if you have waited patiently for Serebrier to continue his cycle then you will certainly not be disappointed.
Copyright © 2008 by Gerald Fenech