Notes & Reviews:
Fantasy and folklore are the subject of this 2cd collection of orchestral pieces by rimsky-korsakov recorded between 1953 and 1963 by the suisse romande orchestra and ernest ansermet. We encounter antar, disillusioned son of a slave who rises to become a bedouin chief and dies in the arms of a fairy queen. We meet a tsarina consigned to sea in a barrel with her son who transforms himself into a bumblebee; a witch who steals the moon; and a maiden who is immune from the power of the sun, thanks to her father, winter, who is enemy of the sun! Antar represents decca's first stereo recording and the booklet note includes an account of the making of this seminal document. The thrilling sound in many of the recordings is complemented by conducting of swiftness and astuteness, and above all, plenty of colour.
The Tsar Saltan suite shows Ansermet and the Decca engineers in glittering form... The Christmas Eve suite is played with much affection and that mixture of spontaneity and remarkably graphic orchestral palette which made Ansermet's performances special... The sound [in The Snow Maiden] is remarkably warm and richly coloured.