Balalaika Favorites - Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra
Mercury Living Presence 475 6610
Classical - Orchestral
Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra
Review by John Broggio - January 29, 2006
This is quite simply one of the most captivating and enjoyable discs I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. The sound is quite simply fantastic for its age and so well balanced that you could be forgiven that the 3-channel was almost genuine MCH such is the fidelity and detail obtained.
Most of the tracks are folk-based arrangements for the orchestra (there are two "proper" classical arrangements) and all are played with sheer joie-de-vivre and complete virtuosity. It would be completely unfair to single out a particular track or two for special mention but I will it do it anyway! The track Midnight In Moscow has a shimmering undercurrent of balaika's and a beautiful melody floats on top - simply wonderful. Fittingly, what is for me the finest track of all, Waltz of the Faun was composed by Andreyev who founded the first Russian folk instrument orchestra (and in whose honour the Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra was founded) - a kind of Strauss family on holiday - and one just has to hear the virtuosity on display here; it is simply unbelievable.
All in all, possibly the best record that Mercury ever made.
PS - my drum & bass loving brother, listened in complete silence, totally hooked and then immediately went home and ordered his own copy! I hope that persuades some people who wouldn't normally try this sort of repertoire to give it a whirl - you surely won't regret the small outlay.
[I know that I shouldn't really award 4 stars for a recording that is over 40 years old but the sense of realism is such that I can't avoid doing so...]
Copyright © 2006 John Broggio and HRAudio.net