Scriabin: Symphonies – No 1 in E major, Op 26; No 2 in C minor, Op 29

Reviewed on Fri 01 Jul, 2016

Gergiev goes for atmosphere, and delivers engaging and stimulating readings. The London Symphony Orchestra is on top form throughout, with the strings producing a weighty, dark tone and the woodwind solos a particular delight.

This must be one of the final recordings from Valery Gergiev as the London Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Conductor, and it is an impressive farewell. The two symphonies are early Scriabin, filled with sweeping late Romanticism but not overly burdened by the experimental harmonies or dark psychology of his late work. Gergiev goes for atmosphere, and delivers engaging and stimulating readings. Unusually, he doesn’t emphasise the drama, and the allegro second movements of both symphonies feel a little pedestrian, compared, for example, with Svetlanov’s white-knuckle accounts. But Gergiev demonstrates that a more pastoral approach is also valid here. The London Symphony Orchestra is on top form throughout, with the strings producing a weighty, dark tone and the woodwind solos a particular delight. Chorus and soloists also make impressive contributions to the First Symphony's finale. The SACD sound quality is excellent, and better than on many recent LSO Live releases, showing the orchestra off to its full potential.
–Gavin Dixon