Nicolai Miaskovsky’s Symphony No. 3
Evgeny Svetlanov, Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation, USSR Symphony Orchestra
Now, I love Miaskovsky’s Symphony No. 6, so I bought this set ages ago in the hope of discovering the man had written a string of equivalently-wonderful symphonies (there are 27 of them in all). It was possibly the biggest musical disappointment I can remember: 26 of the other symphonies either all sound like edited highlights of the sixth, or sound just pretty average at best. Apparently, he was known as ‘father of the Soviet symphony’: he won the Stalin prize an unprecedented five times, too. I think that tells you all you need to know about Stalin’s musical sensibilities! It’s not that they’re particularly dreadful, you understand. They are always at least listenable. But they’re just not very good to my ears. The sixth remains the standout exception, sadly.