Pick the Russian Potboiler from Valery Gergiev

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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Valery Gergiev conducts the Mariinsky Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. (Melanie Burford/NPR)

This Thursday, Valery Gergiev will be conducting the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre at the grand opening of the new Mariinsky II opera house in St. Petersburg, Russia. It's also Gergiev's 60th birthday.

We're celebrating today with a Showdown that features three Russian masterpieces conducted by this globe-trotting maestro, who was born in Moscow. You voted for the piece you'd like to hear Gergiev wield the baton on and we played it today at noon.


Comments [15]

Miles from Montclair, NJ

My vote goes to Scheherazade. "Warhorse" 'though it may be, it is one for a reason. It showcases the very best of Rimsky-Korsakov, full of drama, majesty and the orchestral color for which he is known to be one of the all-time masters. Last summer, it was spectacularly performed by the senior orchestra of my high school (now the La Guardia School of the Arts in NYC) at our 50th Music and Art High School reunion, and sounded as fresh and gorgeous as ever.

May. 01 2013 11:50 AM
David from Westchester

Voted for Scheherazade, which was the 2nd classical recording I ever bought as a teenager. To be fair to Tchaikovsky, I would have preferred to see his 4th, 5th or 6th symphony. Nutcracker is sweet, but a fluff. Rachmaninoff (which I predict will win) is played less often - probably because of its length - 50-55 minutes - makes scheduling in an hour tough with announcements, news and the like.

May. 01 2013 11:33 AM
anne from NYC

At least it's not Beethoven (talk about overplayed music). I'm voting for the Rachmaninoff simply because I love it!

May. 01 2013 11:05 AM
Julia de Bary from Verona, NJ

Sheherazade & Nutcraker are constantly on the radio..I go for Rachmaminoff that is very rear to hear on the radio. Thanks

May. 01 2013 11:05 AM
Marcia from Brooklyn

There's so much wonderful Russian music out there that we don't get to hear too often. How about some music by Kalinokoff?

May. 01 2013 10:11 AM
Richard from Englewood

I, too, agree with Bernie. There is a plethora of under-aired great Russian music conducted by Gergiev. Scheherezade and Nutracker were by kiddie intro to music. I don't think I could handle them today. The Rachmaninoff Second is a glorious symphony and bears frequent hearings. I remember Horowitz noting that Rachmaninoff was a pianist, composer and conductor--and was great in all three!

May. 01 2013 10:01 AM

I choose the Rachmaninoff because it is such a rich and deeply moving piece. But I agree with Bernie that your listeners are more sophisticated than you give us credit for. All three pieces are heard more frequently than the Scriabin, Stravinsky, and Shostakovitch that Bernie mentioned.

May. 01 2013 09:55 AM

I agree with Bernie. Scheherzade and The Nutcracker? At least the Rachmaninoff isn't constantly being recorded/performed...... and Bernie is right about the listeners' sophistication and knowledge. Although, I now live in Florida, I lived for several years in Brookfield, CT and also in Boston. Besides being able to reach NYC in and hour, in both places there were several colleges that offered courses in Performance. I attended many free concerts where the performers were using recitals/concerts to fulfill their master's/doctoral thesis requirement. Hope the Rachmaninoff wins!

May. 01 2013 09:30 AM
LM from New Jersey

I chose the Nutcracker because my late brother who died of AIDS when he was only 40 danced in this with the Washington School of Ballet and the National Symphony Orchestra when he was in high school. I enjoy the music and can still see the younger children dancing under Miss Day's direction

May. 01 2013 09:27 AM
Shelly H. from Woodmere

Scheherazade doesn't get enough air time. 'Nuff said. One day you guys will play all 3 offered selections in the order of voting preference. It's like going to the Toys 'R' Us of classical music - too many choices, so little time...

May. 01 2013 09:24 AM
P. Levine from Queens, NY

Rachmaninoff was alienated after they heard his first symphony, so what did he do? He came on strong with his 2nd symphony, which is a regular part of the repertoire, so on May Day, let's listen to Symphony No. 2 in E minor op. 27.

May. 01 2013 08:53 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Hard to choose from these greatest hits music. Agree with the comment that there are more interesting choices. But I chose the Scherazade.

May. 01 2013 08:33 AM
Peggy from NYC from New York City (Manhattan)

Please, please play the beautiful Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2. It doesn't seem to be played that often anymore, and deserves more attention. I listen to you because I cannot get enough of the beloved classics. Thank you for including one of my favorite works, the now overlooked Rachmaninoff Symphony No. I hope to hear it!

May. 01 2013 08:18 AM
Jenny from Murray Hill

How about giving us one piece from a different century each week? The problem with this week's is all 3 works were written within 20 or so years of each other. There's not much variety here. Did Gergiev ever record any Schubert or Schumann?

May. 01 2013 08:12 AM
Bernie from UWS

Dear WQXR,
Please stop giving us these pedestrian choices in your showdowns. Gergiev recorded many more interesting recordings than these. Why couldn't you consider Gergiev's version of Scriabin's "Prometheus," a dazzlingly colorful 20th century piece? Or what about his version of Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements? Even his take on Shostakovich's Seventh and Ninth Symphonies would have been a far more interesting choice.

Your listeners are far more sophisticated and knowledgeable than you give us credit for. We're New Yorkers. Please show some leadership and introduce us to music that we don't know already. Thank you.

May. 01 2013 06:47 AM

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