Compact Discoveries®
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited by Fred Flaxman
©2008 by Fred Flaxman

Program 140
"More Glitzy Glazunov"

Glazunov: opening of “Autumn” from The Seasons performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alexander Anissimov [Naxos 8.556687, track 2] [under the following]

Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman, and for the next hour we’re going to explore some more of the very best music by the Russian composer, Alexander Konstantinovich Glazunov, who lived from 1865 until 1936. I’m calling this hour “More Glitzy Glazunov.”

MUSIC: fades out

First we’ll listen to Glazunov’s Violin Concerto. After that we’ll hear his Five Novelettes for string quintet and the Polonaise from his Ballet Scenes, Op. 52.

Glazunov exhibited a great aptitude for musical composition before he was 13 years old. And he had an incredible memory for music. He himself said: “At home we had a great deal of music, and everything we played remained firmly in my memory, so that, awakening in the night, I could reconstruct, even to the smallest details, all I had heard earlier in the evening.”

Glazunov wrote his Violin Concerto in 1904, about a year before he became the director of the Saint Petersberg Conservatory. The concerto has an original formal layout: two movements linked by a solo cadenza.

In the BIS recording we are about to hear, Israeli violinist Vadim Gluzman is the soloist with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton.

MUSIC: Glazunov: Violin Concerto performed by Vadim Gluzman with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton [BIS-SACD-1432, track 1]

Alexander Glazunov’s Violin Concerto. Vadim Gluzman was the soloist. The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra was conducted by Andrew Litton.

You are listening to “More Glitzy Glazunov” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional one minute break not included in total timing]

Glazunov wrote his Five Novelettes, Opus 15, for string quintet in 1881. He originally called this work a suite, but changed the name following the suggestion of the famous German pianist and conductor, Hans von Bülow.

The Five Novelettes are (1) “In the Spanish Style,” (2) “Oriental,” (3) “Interlude in an Ancient Mode,” (4) “Waltz,” and (5) “In the Hungarian Style.” Our performance is by the Fine Arts Quartet plus Nathaniel Rosen, cellist, from a Naxos recording that also includes Glazunov’s String Quintet in A Major.

MUSIC: Glazunov: Five Novelettes, Op. 15, performed by the Fine Arts Quartet plus Nathaniel Rosen, cello [Naxos 8.570256, track 1-5] [31:36]

The Fine Arts Quartet plus cellist Nathaniel Rosen played Five Novelettes, Op. 15, by Alexander Glazunov.

I’m going to bring this hour of “More Glitzy Glazunov” to an end with the same piece that Glazunov used to bring his Ballet Scenes, Op. 52, to a conclusion: the “Polonaise.” This is as good an example as any of Glazunov’s glitzy orchestration as well as his ability to capture the essence of Russian ballet music.

In this performance the CSR Symphony Orchestra of Bratislava is conducted by Ondrej Lenard on a Marco Polo compact disc.

MUSIC: Glazunov: Scènes de Ballet: Polonaise, the CSR Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava) conducted by Ondrej Lenard [Marco Polo 8.223136, track 24] [5:14]

Alexander Glazunov’s Polonaise from his Ballet Scenes, Op. 52, performed by the CSR Symphony Orchestra of Bratislava conducted by Ondrej Lenard.

That brings this hour of “More Glitzy Glazunov” on Compact Discoveries to a close.

MUSIC: ends

ANNOUNCER (Steve Jencks): Compact Discoveries is made possible in part by Story Book Publishers and their latest offering, a tongue-in-cheek memoir by Compact Discoveries host Fred Flaxman called “Sixty Slices of Life ... on Wry: The Private Life of a Public Broadcaster.”  Information and ordering at

Program Ends at 58:00

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