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Released: November 23, 2004
A near contemporary of Shostakovitch, Gavril Popov found his 1934 Symphony banned by the Soviets for reflecting "the ideology of classes hostile to us." Popov escaped worse by toeing the line in his future compositions, but this exuberant work well deserves revival. It's long, somewhat disorganized and sprawling, but chock-full of brilliant orchestral effects and rhythmic power. The opening is reminiscent of Prokofiev's Lt. Kije, with a massive orchestral "sneeze" followed by a snappy section that gives the band a nice workout. The long first movement has an appealing manic drive shared by the third and final movement, which has a raising-the-roof ending. In between comes a long, lyrical slow movement teeming with ideas. Popov's work is aptly coupled with the teen-age Shostakovitch's Theme and Variations from 1922, a superior student work that sheds new light on the composer's development. Botstein and the LSO are persuasive advocates and demonstration quality sound adds to the disc’s appeal. --Dan Davis
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