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Rimsky-Korsakov • Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 etc (LSO/Noseda)

London Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda (LSO Live)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Rimsky-Korsakov • Tchaikovsky
Rimsky-Korsakov: The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh Suite; Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5
London Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda
LSO Live LSO0858 (CD/SACD)   66:45 mins 


Like its predecessor, pairing Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony with the Musorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition, this release features a marginally more characterful performance of the fantasy companion, here the substantial suite from Rimsky-Korsakov’s operatic masterpiece The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh. Korsakov’s nature-poetry evoking the pantheism of the saintly maiden Fevroniya, led as bride to the ill-starred city of Kitezh at just the wrong time, comes with the most beautiful of oboe solos and onomatopoeic woodwind birdsong against the background of Wagnerian forest murmurs.

Gianandrea Noseda’s pacing leads us to the heavenly kingdom in which Fevroniya and her beloved Vsevolod, killed in battle with the marauding Tatars, with a natural ease that creates the innocent sense of wonder at the end. The picturesque wedding scene and the exciting battle flow well, too, with appropriate respective glitter and grimness.

Tchaikovsky’s most straightforward symphony gets a performance to match, once again graced with Noseda’s natural sense of movement which stops the progress of fate-as-providence feeling stagey; there’s only one bit of untoward speeding, in the more troubled central sequence of the Andante cantabile (horn solo perfect, oboe again superb). The waltz-scherzo suggests Noseda and the LSO should tackle the complete Tchaikovsky ballets next, while the song-themes are phrased with operatic instinct which sets the Italian conductor alongside compatriots Abbado and Muti as an instinctive interpreter of this composer. Noseda’s febrile vein, though, might have found a stronger outlet; there’s less electricity in the finale’s conflict than you get with the supreme interpreter, Yevgeny Mravinsky. Sound, like symphony and performance, is clear and well balanced.


David Nice