Alexander Gauk Edition. 10 CD. Historic Russian Archives


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Alexander Gauk Edition. Portrait of an great russian conductor. Recorded between 1944 - 1961.

10 CD. Historic Russian Archives 8866

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 Alexander Gauk Edition. Portrait of an great russian conductor. Recorded between 1944 - 1961.

10 CD. Historic Russian Archives 8866  



Alexander Gauk (conductor) Edition

CD 1: [71:47]
Shostakovich: Symphony 5 in d, Op. 47 [2]
Rachmaninoff: Three Russian Songs for Chorus & Orchestra, Op. 41 [2a]
Rachmaninoff: Spring Cantata for Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 20 (Evgeny Kibkalo, baritone) [2a]

CD 2: [72:50]
Shostakovich: Symphony 11 in g, Op. 103 ("The Year 1905") [2]
Rimsky-Korsakov: The Song of Oleg the Wise for Tenor, Bass, Male Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 58 (Dmitri Tarkov, tenor; Konstantin Polyaev, bass) [3]

CD 3: [64:44]
Khachaturian: Spartacus (Suite) [4]
Glinka: Premiere Polka in B-flat [5]
Glinka: Kamarinskaya [2]

CD 4: [59:50]
Khachaturian: Symphony 1 in e [2]
Glinka: Memory of Friendship: Theme & Variations on the Nocturne in F by Johann Nepomuk Hummel [4]
Glinka: Patriotic Song [1]

CD 5: [75:39]
Myaskovsky: Symphony 17 in g, Op. 41 [2]
Prokofiev: Flourish, mighty Homeland, Op. 114, Cantata for Chorus and Orchestra [6]
Prokofiev: Russian Overture, Op. 72 [2]

CD 6: [74:07]
Tchaikovsky: The Seasons, Op. 37 (10 excerpts, Nos. 1-4, 6, 7, 9-12) [7]
Balakirev: Islamey (Orchestred by Alfred Casella) [2]
Glazunov: Spring Musical Picture in D, Op. 34 [2]
Glazunov: Waltz in D, Op. 42, No. 3 [2]

CD 7: [58:51]
Tchaikovsky: Hamlet, Incidental Music for Soprano, Baritone and Orchestra, Op. 67a (with soloists unnamed) [2]
Tchaikovsky: Fatum, Tone-poem for Orchestra, Op. 77 (Posth.) [5]

CD 8: [70:10]
Tchaikovsky: Snegourotchka (Snow Maiden), incidental music to Ostrovsky's Play, Op. 12 (Alexander Orfenov, tenor; Zara Dolukhanova, contralto) [8]

CD 9: [68:38]
Liszt: Faust Symphony (version without chorus) [5]
Dukas: The Sorcerer's Apprentice [2]

CD 10: [71:56]
Beethoven: Coriolan Overture [7]
Mendelssohn: Ruy Blas Overture [7]
Bizet: Patrie Overture, Op. 19 [2]
Casella: Italia, Rhapsody for Orchestra [2]
Enescu: Romanian Rhapsody 1 [2]
Milhaud: Suite Provençale [2]

[1]-USSR State Symphony Orchestra
[2]-USSR State Radio & TV Symphony Orchestra
[2a]-USSR State Radio & TV Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
[3]-Small Symphony Orchestra & Male Chorus/All-Union State Radio
[4]-Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra
[5]-Grand Symphony Orchestra
[6]-Grand Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
[7]-USSR State Symphony Orchestra
[8]-USSR State Radio & TV Symphony Orchestra & Moscow Radio Chorus

Various orchestra/ensembles (see keys [1] through [8])
Alexander Gauk, conductor
Brilliant 8866, 10 CDs, ADD, Mono

As an early long-play (LP) record collector in the very late 1950s and early 1960s, there were many obscure labels who licensed recordings from the USSR/Russia, labels such as Colosseum, Monitor, Bruno, and a few others. I recall seeing the name Alexander (or Aleksander) Gauk as the conductor, a man of whom I had no knowledge, and not much was available in print about the conductor. As the musical ears grow in recognizing good music-makers, Gauk turned out to be a darned-good conductor. As time went on, I recognized more in his artistry. Today, he is highly recognized as being one of the leading conductors of yesterday's Russia.

Born in Odessa (Ukraine) in 1893, and he died there in 1963. His teachers included Glazunov and Tcherepnin, who were students of Rimsky-Korsakov. He conducted orchestra, of which there were many, through Russia's sectors and eventually became principal conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic (1930-34), succeeding Nikolai Malko. The Leningrad Philharmonic's success, however, is generally attributed to Evgeny Mravinsky today. He then conducted the USSR State Symphony between 1936 and 1941, the All-Union Radio Symphony between 1953 and 1963 where he succeeded Nikolai Golovanov. Gauk taught conducting at the Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and Moscow Conseravtories, and for a short time in Tbilsi. Gauk was made a People's Artist in 1954.

He led a number of premieres in Russia, particularly works by Shostakovich. He championed the music of Khachaturian, Myaskovsky, Prkofiev and Shaporin. One of his major goals was to reconstruct Sergei Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 1, bringing the originally failed work back to the concert hall. Gauk didn't confine his work to Russian composers, but conducted music by Europeans, and Americans (Piston's Symphony #6, for example).

The Brilliant booklet quotes conductor Evgeny Svetlanov: "Although there were some excellent conductors before the Revolution, such as Balakirev and Rubinstein, there was no genuine Russian conducting school. Gauk created it and if only for that reason and no other, his name should feature prominently in the annals of our musical history.

All the recordings in this first-ever comprehensive set of the conducting art of Alexander Gauk are live recordings, made between 1944 and 1961. All are mono-only recordings, mostly in acceptable sound in the early years to excellent sound in the later years. The repertoire is wide-ranging featuring many Russian composers in some rarely performed compositions. I have spot-listened to some things, such as the Rachmaninoff Three Russian Folk Songs and the Spring Cantata, which are musically refined performances and typical of the sound of orchestras there in the 1940s through the 1960s, i.e. harshly-toned brass instruments (horns especially, which always identified a Russian orchestra to my ears), but excellent strings, percussion, and winds, the latter of which always have a sound that, like the brass, spells "Russian."

This is a fine collection of works to memorialize one of Russia's great but largely forgotten conductors. I have a lot of listening to do with this set. The only thing I miss in these large Gostelradiofund-licensed recordings is collaborations, such as in concertos. We know, for example, Gauk made Melodiya recordings with such artists as Maria Yudina, David Oistrakh, Lev Oborin, Leonid Kogan, Sviatoslav Knushevitsky, Sviatoslav Richter, and many others. Surely they appeared with him in live concerts that must have also been recorded. Some have, of course, in other Brilliant boxed sets of live recordings by some of these fine Russian soloists, but, as stated, nothing in the all-Gauk boxed set, which is a diversified collection of music he performed in live concerts.

This isn't intended to present an in-depth a musical review of the contents of the box, but instead, informs those who hold Alexander Gauk in high esteem who will certainly want to know of its availability and especially the contents of the set, the primary purpose of this writing.

Add another great set to Brilliant's line-up of great Russian artists!


Alexander Gauk Edition. Portrait of an great russian conductor. Recorded between 1944 - 1961.

10 CD. Historic Russian Archives / Melodiya. 8866-2   


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