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Valery Gergiev / Vladimir Ashkenazy

Borodin: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2; Polovtsian Dances (CD)

Borodin's First Symphony was one of his earliest large-scale works and shows a great increase of technical skill over anything he had done before. Of course, it was a brave decision on Borodin's part to undertake a symphony when he had little experience of large-scale form and none of orchestration. The influence of Schumann is rather apparent, although the example of Berlioz is more heeded in the imaginative and many­hued orchestration.

The Second Symphony is one of Borodin's masterpieces, finding the composer at the height of his capabilities. Given its strong musical ties with Prince Igor, outlined in Max Harrison's booklet note, the filler on this CD - the `Polovtsian Dances` from Prince Igor is particularly apt. What's more, it's the first international release of the Ashkenazy recording made in 1983.

Symphony No. 1 in E flat major
Symphony No. 2 in B minor
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Valéry Gergiev

Polovtsian Dances from ‘Prince Igor’*
London Opera Chorus
Philharmonia Orchestra
Vladimir Ashkenazy