I really don’t like these arbitrary compilations, where there’s one major work fleshed out with other smaller works, and when the performances are by different orchestras / performers, it’s all the more frustrating.
But the 8th symphony is awesome – it’s everything I want in late Romantic ‘nationalist’ music. And the performance by the Ministry of Culture’s orchestra (what a Soviet idea!) is suitably bombastic, to my ears.
And surprisingly, I can see how the curator thought the ‘Ballade’ belonged with this symphony (though obviously I would prefer to listen to a complete set of the symphonies).
But frankly the ‘Slavonic Festival’ doesn’t belong at all. It’s of an entirely different mood and, unsurprisingly, from an entirely different time in Glazunov’s career. Frankly, it makes me not want to listen to his early works. It’s so ridiculously jovial.