Iberia Isaac Albeniz
A compilation disc of dance movements from Russian operas, ballets and concert works, performed by Järvi and the Orchestre Phil de Radio France
Repertoire: Ballets Russes
Artists: Orchestre Phil de Radio France/ Paavo Järvi
Label: Virgin Classics 545 6092
The repertoire choice is so imaginative, and the playing of the Franco-Russian forces under Järvi is so compelling that it transcends the genre. It ranges from Glinka’s Valse-Fantasie (1856) to Khachaturian’s wild Sabre Dance (1943), taking in along the way attractive and comparative rarities like the Entracte from Glazunov’s Raymonda and Liadov’s Dance of the Amazon. The contrasts in rhythm and texture are well made: an exhilarating account of Tchaikovsky’s Polonaise from Eugene Onegin is followed by Khachaturian’s graceful Waltz from Masquerade and Shostakovich’s clownish Polka from The Golden Age (1930), his ballet portraying the misadventures of a Soviet football team. Järvi is as accomplished at characterising such witty, frivolous items as he is at producing a rich, warm tone and precision ensemble playing. Last of the 14 titles is Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances, the full-throated Mariinsky Choir bringing proceedings to a rousing conclusion. I can see this disc making frequent appearances on Classic FM.