MAXIMILIAN STEINBERG (1883-1946): Symphony No. 4, Op. 24 “Turksib”, Violin Concerto, Op. 37.
Catalogue Number: 06S001
Label: Dutton Epoch
Reference: CDLX 7341
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: It’s been a while since Neeme Järvi got DG to record Steinberg’s first two symphonies so this is a happy surprise for late Romantic symphony collectors. And for collectors of the extinct old beast, “The Soviet Realist Orchestral Extravaganza” which is what this is. Composed in 1933 to honor the completion of the Turkestan-Siberia railway, the Turksib is a 42-minute, four-movement work which traffics in broad brushes of orchestral color and all-hands-on-deck instrumentation. No delicate pastels here! “Across Sands and Mountains”, “Rhapsody ‘Songs of the Past and the Present’”, “Guiding the Steel Road” and “Devil’s Chariot” are the directions for this trip and Kazakh folk music is the flavoring. Now don’t overeat! Almost 180 degrees away from Turksib is the valedictory and autumnal concerto from the year of Steinberg’s death which looks back to the days of Russian Imperial late Romanticism. Occasional quickenings of tempo occur in the first two movements but orchestra colors are muted; the finale perks up with a light-footed dance motif and virtuosity comes calling for the soloist but even here, a dole cantabile e largamente slow cental section takes us back to the preoccupations of the first two movements. What are the chances for Symphonies Nos. 3 & 5? Who knows... Sergey Levitin (violin), Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Martin Yates.