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Classical 101

A Different "Pastoral Symphony" From Alexander Glazunov

As we continue our cycle of the symphonies of Russian composer Alexander Glazunov on Symphony at 7, we'll have a different "Pastoral Symphony," not the one by Beethoven but one with a Russian accent. This coming Thursday, we'll be up to the Seventh Symphony from 1902.  There is an unmistakably rustic feeling to the first movement, and the symphony is in the same key (F major) as Beethoven's more famous "Pastoral."  This is one of Glazunov's most enjoyable symphonies. While Glazunov's symphonies don't follow Prokofiev and Shostakovitch into the more progressive realms of Russian music of the 20th Century, they do express beautifully the culmination of 19th century Romanticism.  In this way, he's a bit like his younger contemporary Rachmaninoff, who also rejected modernism in favor of lush melodies and beautiful sound. If you're not familiar with this pivotal figure in Russian music between the 19th and 20th Centuries,  give a listen this week to Symphony at 7.