A Fine Disc of Karayev Premiere Recordings (Not)

Review by: David Hurwitz

KarayevKar

Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 9

Is it laziness or arrogance that induces a label to claim that a disc contains premiere recordings of unusual music when, in truth, all of the works in question have been recorded previously–multiple times? The music from The Seven Beauties, in fact, has appeared previously at least three times, the remaining works at least two. All are available in excellent recordings on Naxos under Dmitry Yablonsky, and have been for several years. Indeed, Yablonsky’s performances are a bit peppier than these, and hardly less well engineered. So there.

That said, this music is wonderful, and the new versions very good. Karabits proves a committed advocate of these colorful, expertly crafted pieces, the ballet suite especially, and the Bournemouth Symphony plays splendidly. The catchy concluding march enjoyed a brief bit of fame when Ernie Kovacs used the 1956 Westminster recording as background music to one of his comedy sketches, and as Karabits himself says in the booklet notes, Karayev definitely deserves to rejoin the standard repertoire. He’s like Khachaturian with better orchestration and superior taste.

If my personal preference remains with the Naxos recordings, it’s mainly because you get more music across two discs–the complete suite from The Path of Thunder, and the magnificent Third Symphony. But if you want a single-disc sample of Karayev’s work, in opulent SACD sonics, you can purchase this with confidence.



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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Yablonsky (Naxos)

  • KARAYEV, KARA:
    Suite from The Seven Beauties; Don Quixote; Leyla and Mejnun; Lullaby from The Path of Thunder

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