Journey into the Rich Music of Russia with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops
Kunzel and the Pops' 83rd Telarc recording evokes the color, folklore, dance and pageantry of Russia
Russian Nights, the newest release by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra on the GRAMMY-winning Telarc label, takes listeners on a colorful journey of popular classics and music from ballet and opera, all written by some of Russia's best-known composers. From Glinka's Russlan and Ludmilla to Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Russian Nights tells enchanting musical stories.
"This disc is steeped in the rich musical language of Russia and includes recognizable orchestral classics such as Borodin's Polovtsian Dances and dances from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker and Swan Lake," says Kunzel. "We've also included Rimsky-Korsakov's brilliantly orchestrated Capriccio Espagnol as well as music by the 20th century composers Khachaturian and Prokofiev."
Some of the symphony orchestra's most exciting and brilliant works are products of the ardent nationalism that swept Russia in the decades after the country was given its distinctive musical voice by Mikhail Glinka's two epochal operas, A Life for the Czar (1836) and Russlan and Ludmilla (1842). That vibrant spirit is captured on Russian Nights.
Russian Nights includes the following selections:
Rimsky-Korsakov - Capriccio Espagnol, Opus 34
Khachaturian - Love Theme from Spartacus
Liadov - The Enchanted Lake, Opus 62
Prokofiev - March from The Love for Three Oranges
Borodin - Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor
Glinka - Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla
Ippolitov-Ivanov - Procession of the Sardar from Caucasian Sketches
Tchaikovsky - Hungarian Dance (Czardas) from Swan Lake, Opus 20A
Mussorgsky - Polonaise from Boris Godunov
Tchaikovsky - Russian Dance (Trepak) from The Nutcracker
Liadov - The Music Box, Opus 32
Russian Nights is the 83rd Telarc recording by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and the followup to The Never-Ending Waltz (CD-80668) and Christmastime Is Here (CD-80538), both released in the fall of 2006. Recent Telarc/Pops CDs also include Symphonic Music by Howard Hanson (CD-80649), which was hailed in the November 2005 issue of Gramophone as an "Editor's Choice." Rózsa: Three Choral Suites (CD-80631) was also released in 2005 to critical acclaim. The Rózsa recording prompted writer Ken Smith to proclaim in the July 2005 issue of Gramophone: "One would have to think hard to conceive of a more memorable performance of these works."
In a remarkable 41-year career in Cincinnati, Erich Kunzel's accomplishments are almost too numerous to list. Beginning with his invitation by Max Rudolf in 1965 to conduct the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra to being named Conductor of the Cincinnati Pops in 1977, Maestro Kunzel's credits include an unprecedented catalog of 83 Pops recordings on the Telarc label; four consecutive years as Billboard Magazine's Classical Crossover Artist of the Year; eight nationally televised Pops specials on PBS; and national and international appearances with the Pops including 10 Carnegie Hall concerts, two tours to Taiwan, three tours to Japan and a historic tour to China.