Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Symphonic Suite for Orchestra, Op. 35
The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia has an outstanding track record of training young musicians, and its Symphony Orchestra is showcased in this first release on Curtis’ own record label. The work is Rimsky-Korsakov’s richly colorful Scheherazade, a four-movement symphonic tone poem based on exotic tales from the Middle Eastern folk anthology One Thousand and One Nights. The vastly experienced Osmo Vänskä is the conductor, leading a broadly phrased, expressive interpretation that leaves plenty of elbow room for the concertmaster’s exquisitely shaped passages for solo violin. Other highlights include the sharply pointed woodwind in the second movement and a weighty shipwreck in the tumultuous finale.