Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Hermann Krebbers, violin
This is widely regarded as one of the finest Scheherazade's ever recorded.
In 1978, after a long and prominent career in the Soviet Union that included a 15-year stint as artistic director of the Moscow Symphony, Kiril Kondrashin emigrated to the Netherlands during a concert tour abroad. The following year, he became conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the recordings included on this disc date from his all-too-brief tenure there, which lasted until his death in 1981. The Concertgebouw must have been a hospitable appointment for Kondrashin, judging from these fine performances, and the orchestra was a lucky beneficiary of the conductor's deep affinity for Russian music. Scheherazade Rimsky-Korsakov's oft-recorded masterpiece of exotica, is thoroughly riveting here, with the orchestra's lustrous tone molded by Kondrashin into a sequence of richly detailed, lushly Romantic musical narratives that build to a thrilling conclusion. Concertgebouw concertmaster Herman Krebbers brings a poignant, delicate beauty to the violin solos, but the orchestra's horns and woodwind soloists contribute nearly as much to the performance's brilliance -- as do the Concertgebouw's spacious acoustics.