Russian Colours

Russian Colours

The string orchestra’s rich timbres are often perfect for Russian music’s palette of passion, nostalgia, and melancholy. Conductor and violinist Yuri Zhislin has chosen some of the most sumptuous Russian chamber works and rearranged them for massed strings, including Arensky’s richly scored, folk-inspired String Quartet No. 2 and the yearning second movement of Borodin’s String Quartet No. 2, famous for its appearance as a song in the 1953 Broadway musical Kismet and boasting one of Russian music’s most ravishing melodies. In Zhislin’s skilled hands, the touching beauty of Tchaikovsky’s rarely heard String Quartet No. 1 blooms with fresh colors, as does Rachmaninoff’s great “Vocalise.” And his rearrangement for viola of Glazunov’s Saxophone Concerto reawakens this unfairly neglected masterpiece.

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