Kirill Kondrashin ∙ Staatskapelle Dresden 1955-1960


Kirill Kondrashin had a distinguished career. This release contains three East German radio broadcast recordings made from 1955 to 1960 with the Staatskapelle Dresden, all worthy new additions to his discography. None of these radio performances have been published before.

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KIRILL KONDRASHIN conducts Wagner, Ravel and Tchaikovsky

Wagner: Siegfried-Idyll, WWV 103
Recorded ∙ 09 October 1955 ∙ East Berlin ∙ Deutsche Staatsoper ∙ Rundfunk der DDR ∙ Live Recording

Ravel: Ma mère l’oye
Recorded ∙ 15 June 1960 ∙ Dresden ∙ Hygienemuseum Kongreßsaal ∙ Rundfunk der DDR ∙ Radio Studio Recording

Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op 48
Recorded ∙ 17 June 1960 ∙ Dresden ∙ Hygienemuseum Kongreßsaal ∙ Rundfunk der DDR ∙ Radio Studio Recording

Staatskapelle Dresden
Kirill Kondrashin ∙ conductor

Article number: MC 5001
UPC barcode: 791154054192
Recording dates: 1955-1960
Release date: March 2015
Booklet: 8 Pages
Total timing: 65:24
From the Original Masters ∙ © 2015 Meloclassic

May 2015 ∙ Top Ear ∙ Kirill Kondrashin conducts Wagner, Ravel and Tchaikovsky
With Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll opening the programme Kondrashin reveals another side of his artistry: a beautifully reflective artist with a true sense of long-lined lyricism. Similar observations may apply to the first two movements of the suite from Ravel’s Mother Goose, a performance that concludes with a spectacular Apotheosis in which Kondrashin goes for the jugular with dazzling percussion playing. Rounding up the disc is Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings. The mono radio sonics from 1955 (Wagner) and 1960 (the remainder) is quite good for its vintage, and has been lovingly restored for modern ears by Lynn Ludwig, the founder of the label. The Wagner is a live recording and audience noise is detectible but never intrusive. A note on the presentation: the disc is housed in a “Digipak” and comes with a booklet (only in English) with fascinating notes by Meloclassic and archival photos.
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June 2015 ∙ Artamag ∙ Jean-Charles Hoffelé ∙ Kirill Kondrashin conducts Wagner, Ravel and Tchaikovsky
Pourtant la vraie surprise vient de l’autre CD qui réunit des extraits de deux concerts donnés par Kirill Kondrachine et la Staatskapelle de Dresde, ajoutant deux opus à sa discographie : la Siegfried-Idyll de Wagner et Ma mère l’Oye de Ravel. La sérénade de Wagner, captée le 9 octobre 1955 à Berlin, documente l’art de Kondrachine alors qu’il n’avait pas encore abandonné la baguette de direction : tempo lent, étude de pianissimo et de gris colorés, réflexion sur les phrasés et les accents, un rien anti-naturel mais fascinant. Cinq années plus tard, Kondrachine dirige uniquement avec les mains, et la liberté qu’il trouve alors dans la communication avec les pupitres de la Staatskapelle produit une version magique de Ma mère l’Oye, d’un raffinement de timbres, d’une tendresse assez inouïs qui me rappelle ce qu’y faisait Sergiu Celibidache. Et la Sérénade de Tchaikovski ? Avec son orchestre moscovite, Kondrachine en avait gravé une lecture passionnée. A Dresde, tout est plus tenu, un rien trop classique peut-être, mais la profondeur du quatuor de la Staatskapelle, la beauté du pupitre des altos, et cette nostalgie irrépressible qui s’installe peu à peu vous transporteront..
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June 2015 ∙ Audiophile Audition ∙ Gary Lemco ∙ Kirill Kondrashin conducts Wagner, Ravel and Tchaikovsky
The present document captures Kondrashin in East Germany, 1955 and 1960, of which the Wagner 1869-1870 Siegfried Idyll (9 October 1955) gives us our first Wagner under this conductor, in live performance, which unfolds lyrically, all nuance. The balance between strings, oboe, trumpet and French horn quite invokes those motifs crucial to the operatic investment of heroism and pastoral romance. The step-wise lullaby motif achieves a lulling effect, quite in keeping with the performances we know from Bruno Walter, especially given Kondrashin’s broad tempos. The Ravel suite in honor of Perrault offers Kondrashin (15 June 1960, studio) multifarious color combinations, each of which reifies our notion of the child in us. Le Petit poucet suddenly bursts in to a monumental passion, only to fade just as quickly into a bucolic reverie. The bustling oriental color-pageant of Laideronette, imperatrice des pagodas shimmers with dizzied, delicate allure, then breaks into its version of an Eastern chant. The dialogue between Beauty and the Beast resonates with grumbles awaiting the transformation only love can provide, and so the fairy-tale becomes mystical. Le jardin feerique – a great favorite of Koussevitzky, for whom Kondrashin’s parent played during his tours along the Volga – achieves that paradoxical enchantment of pleasure and pain, of beauty mixed with the tragedy that Time imposes on all Youth. Tchaikovsky’s 1881 Serenade for Strings (17 June 1960, studio), the composer’s deep homage to Mozart, came to Kondrashin by way of both Koussevitzky and Mravinsky. Lovely and dramatically understated, the performance moves with impressive gusto once past the initial, “fateful” Andante non troppo of the first movement. The lower strings and pizzicato passages receive etched attention, and the interior lines move with robust elasticity. The celebrated, balletic Valse enjoys an immediate diminuendo of dramatic power, then lisps its charmed figures in thoroughly gratifying gestures. Its pianissimo coda leads to Kondrashin’s expansive suasion with the expansive Elegie: Larghetto elegiaco. If Kondrashin’s performance registers any association, it would be a sound we know in Elgar’s string music. The essentially Russian Finale has been waiting for Kondrashin’s applied acoustics, with its opening hushed Volga tune conjoined to a spirited Cossack dance, which Kondrashin moves with unbuttoned vigor. For any admirer and collector of Kirill Kondrashin’s recorded legacy, this MeloClassic album remains indispensable.
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August 2015 ∙ British Gramophone ∙ Rob Cowan ∙ Kirill Kondrashin conducts Wagner, Ravel and Tchaikovsky
The other orchestral releases include Kyrill Kondrashin conducting one of the most compelling accounts of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for strings I’ve ever heard, the outer movements typically muscular, the ‘Elégie’ poignant and intense. Ravers Ma Mére is perhaps a little on the swift side but Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll is played with great tenderness.
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