Saturday, March 20, 2010
A Scheherazade with Snow and Wolves
I just received this for my birthday, too. Wow! I had heard that Valery Gergiev's performance of Scheherazade was controversial, but I love it. Usually this piece is done with an air evoking its Arabian Nights setting, all flowing lines and phrases shaped to conjure up your usual exotic, Western-centric view of the Middle East. Gergiev ain't having any of that, baby! He muscles his way through this work and reminds you that Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was Russian, through and through. I already heard how Gergiev made Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony into a thoroughly Russian piece as well, making me think, as the organ, bells, and choir go all out at the climax, that Boris Godunov was about to show up. (Gergiev is conducting Boris Godunov at the Met next season, BTW.) Like I said, I love this Scheherazade. You almost expect a Russian winter with snow and wolves to show up during this. Definitely worth it.
And Gergiev has become, without question, my favorite conductor.