Review By Matty J. Hiffi,Classical Rough and Ready,January 2010
GLAZUNOV, A.K.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - The Kremlin / From the Middle Ages / Poeme Lyrique / Poeme Epique (Moscow Symphony, Krimets) 8.553537
GLAZUNOV, A.K.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3 - The King of the Jews (Moscow Symphony, Golovschin) 8.553575
GLAZUNOV, A.K.: 8.553932
Revered by his own generation, maligned by the next. It’s the story of too many composers. Just think for a moment and you can probably come up with a half a dozen examples. No? Well, I can. But there is one in particular whose downgraded reputation cannot be known by anyone with ears to be anything other than the glaring error which it is. I shouldn’t even characterize it as “an error.” That makes it sound as if someone just accidentally goofed, or overlooked The Truth. No, this man’s reputation was systematically scuttled by some critics determined to vilify anything less than avant garde and others anything less than politically correct. And I’m referring to the brand of political correctness which was born under Lenin and flourished under Stalin. The composer in question? Alexander Konstantinovich Glazunov.
Now, you might say, good old Glazunov has been restored by the current generation of critics to his rightful throne of mediocrity. But I would challenge this. Yes, contemporary critics may praise him for embodying the synthesis of Russian and European music, they may admire his adroit traversal of tumultuous times, and they may applaud his role in the education of the next generation of Russian composers. But in the same breath they will accuse him of sounding too much like Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, and even Tanayev, all at the expense of sounding like himself. As if any artist would not seek to emmulate what has been successful in the past. As if it were some sort of crime to be influenced by others. As if any artist can exist in a vacuum. What fools these critics be. All anyone has to do is actually listen to the music. I wonder if that ever occured to any of them.
So even the Glazunov of the revisionists is only grudgingly positive, suggesting that all the hard work the man did cannot make up for an ultimate lack of inspiration. Inspiration? Inspiration! It’s there in every note! Why does no one listen to anything but the violin concerto? I mean, it’s a charming concerto and everything. I love it. But there’s so much more!
Now I don’t presum