Russian Spectacular – Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Lan Shui

April 15, 2021, 9:00 am

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This album of orchestral showpieces features four of the five members of the Mighty Handful, a group of 19th-century Russian composers who collaborated to create a distinct national style. The recorded works illustrate different aspects of their endeavors – both in terms of the musical means they employ and their subject matter. Mily Balakirev’s Islamey employs material from the Caucasus Mountains, and Alexander Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances describes the revels of a nomadic tribe. Modest Mussorgsky’s celebrated Pictures from an Exhibition was composed in 1874 as a tribute to a recently deceased artist friend. Originally written for the piano, it is here performed in the 1922 orchestration by Maurice Ravel. Also by Mussorgsky, Night on the Bare Mountain paints a witch’s Sabbath in bold brushstrokes. The varied program is performed by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Lan Shui.