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Album at a Glance

Tonal and ConsonantOrchestral
Delos Music Record Label - Delos: “Greek mythology tells us that Apollo set out from the island of Delos every morning with his lyre in hand, bringing light, music and healing to the world. We at Delos share the awareness that our world needs the balm of music.”
Release date: 2013-01-29


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Anton Rubinstein Don Quixote and Ivan IV from the Russian State Orchestra


The two tone poems on this Delos CD were obviously cut from the same cloth, which would have been the stage curtain of an opera house because both were originally conceived as operas. Russian pianist, educator and composer Anton Rubinstein (1829 – 1894) wrote twenty operas and developed a flair for portraying various human characteristics in music. The two pieces on this Delos CD, Don Quixote, Musical Picture after Cervantes, Op. 87, and Ivan IV, Musical Picture after L. A. Mey, Op.79, never became operas, but were completed as character pieces based upon one fictional and one real subject.

Rubinstein’s music, coming right from the thick of the Romantic period in Russia, is somewhat out of the ordinary. At a time defined by the group of composers known as The Five, or The Mighty Handful (Balakirev, Cui, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin), Rubinstein eschewed the predominant Russian musical style for a more Germanic sound. Robert Schumann and Felix Mendelssohn were the strongest influences on his music. These two character pieces, while understandably not standard repertoire material, are suspenseful, rousing and rugged, and put on full display Rubinstein’s capacity for writing dramatic music.

Neither work has been regularly available on CD, and from what I can see, this recording, originally released on Russian Disc in 1993, is the only time they have appeared together. Authoritative performances come from Igor Golovchin and the Russian State Symphony Orchestra on a very welcome and great sounding reissue from Delos.

Following is a an extract from Ivan the Terrible performed by the Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra under Robert Stankovsky.