Kleiber, Alexander Borodin: Symphony No.2 – Conducted by Carlos Kleiber & Erich Kleiber

Gavin Borchert

By Gavin Borchert

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
One of the most arresting openings to a symphony you’ll ever hear.

I clearly remember my sister, eight or nine at the time, dragged to one of my school orchestra concerts and, at its conclusion, telling me she liked this piece best. The brusque gesture that launches Alexander Borodin's Second Symphony (1876) is definitely one of the more arresting openings: glowering, passionate and Russian, Russian, Russian. Compare it to the sinuous oboe melody that comes later, and you hear the two sides of Borodin's musical personality: barbaric vs. sensuous, both tinged with the exotic folk colors of ancient Asian tribes. This disc is also the only one I know that offers father-son performances of the same work, by Erich (1890-1956) and Carlos Kleiber (1930-2004).