TANEYEV: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3 (Lev Krokushansky/ Novosibirsk Academic Symphony Orchestra/ Thomas Sanderling) (Naxos: 8.570336)
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A pupil of Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky, and a teacher of Rachmaninov and Scriabin, Sergey Taneyev was a monumental figure in Russian music of the second half of the nineteenth century. Although highly independent as a mature artist, Taneyev was understandably under Tchaikovsky's influence during the early years of his career. His First Symphony, which can be compared to Tchaikovsky's Second, impresses with its seriousness, skilful orchestration, and a complete absence of virtuosity for its own sake. It is all the more impressive when we consider that Taneyev was only 17 years old when he wrote it. Written ten tears later, the Third Symphony is a large four-movement cycle. Its crowning glory, a scintillating Finale, shows Taneyev's contrapuntal prowess at its best.