Symphony No. 2 in B Minor (Vienna Philharmonic Orch/Rafael Kubelik). In
the Steppes of Central Asia (Philharmonia Orch/Cluytens). Prince
Igor: Overture (Philharmonia Orch/Constantin Silvestri). Polovtsian
March (Liege Orch/Paul Strauss). Polovtsian Dances (Philharmonia
SERAPHIM 74276 (B) (ADD) TT: 63:09
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Rafael Kubelik's superb 1960 Borodin Second was last issued in 1994 on EMI Classics in their Artist Profile series (68223, two well-filled CDs that also included Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4, Martinu's Piero della Francesca Fresques, Janacek's Taras Bulba and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra), long out-of-print. When issued on LP the coupling was Polovtsian Dances, yet to be issued on CD. It's rather strange why EMI didn't elect to include it here instead of Karajan's version recorded about the same time; it's a pleasure to hear the VPO in relatively unfamiliar (to them) repertory.
Here is an opportunity once again to hear Kubelik's Second, in this fine transfer. The Igor excerpts offer the Philharmonia under Silvestri and Karajan as well as a surprisingly lively "March" with the Liege Orchestra under Paul Strauss. Silvestre's Prince Igor Overture was included in his EMI Artist Profile set (68229, that also included the Polovtsian Dances, Tchaikovsky's Fifth, Dvorak's Eighth, Ravel's Rapsodie espagnole plus shorter works of Rimsky-Korsakov and Glinka). All of the music on this reissue has been very well transferredthese were outstanding recordings when originally issued and now sound better than ever. This is one of the finest in the Seraphim Classics budget series. Limited notes, only in Englishobviously intended for the American audience.
R.E.B. (Aug. 2001)