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Rachmaninoff:The Bells / Spring/ Three Russian Songs [CD]

Gianandrea Noseda Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda
  • Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff
  • Audio CD (31 Oct 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B005PZFEXI
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 204,781 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Bells - Various Performers
2. Spring - Various Performers
3. Three Russian Songs - Various Performers

Product Description

Product Description

This is the seventh and final volume in our acclaimed Rachmaninoff series, which has been performed by the BBC Philharmonic under Gianandrea Noseda. They are joined in this recording by the Chorus of the Mariinsky Theatre and the soloists Svetla Vassileva, Misha Didyk, and Alexei Tanovitski. The disc was recorded live at this years Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London. Rachmaninoff composed his choral symphony The Bells in 1913. It takes its inspiration from poems by Edgar Allan Poe in a Russian translation by the poet Konstantin Balmont. The first movement, evoking the chimes of silver bells on a winter sleigh ride, is unusually cheerful for both the composer and author, while Wedding Bells blends the yearning of Wagners Tristan und Isolde with a darker and more ominous undercurrent that carries through to the end. Of this Proms performance, The Guardian wrote: The soloists soared, the choir bloomed, and Noseda powered the orchestra through thrilling climaxes to the funereal closing bars. In the brooding cantata Spring of 1902, the restlessness and lively use of percussion reflect the composers mindset at the time: He was hungry to write music once again after suffering from a three-year bout of writers block and depression. The work is based on a poem by Nikolay Nekrasov and describes the return of the Zelyoniy shum, or green rustle. The poem tells of a husband who, fraught with murderous thoughts towards his unfaithful wife during the winter season, is freed from his frustrations by the return of spring. The Three Russian Songs are poignant, gem-like time capsules of a Russia now irretrievably lost. They were written in 1926 when Rachmaninoff was living and exhaustively touring as a pianist in America. Vladimir Wilshaw, Rachmaninoffs old friend from student days, said of this work: Only a man who loves his country could compose this way. Only a man who in his innermost soul is a Russian. Only Rachmaninoff could have composed this!

Review

Gianandrea Noseda handles the work skilfully,with sensitivity to the contrasted moods and to the orchestral details as well as the balance with the chorus and soloists. --IRR,Nov'11

Beautifully played. Performance *** Recording **** --BBC Music Magazine,Christmas'11

Strong and powerful performances. **** --Classic FM Magazine,Feb'12

Gianandrea Noseda's Rachmaninov series has regularly disinterred rarities to go alongside the repertory works, and the latest instalment, devoted to choral music and derived from a concert at last summer's Proms, is no exception. The familiar work here is The Bells, the choral symphony based on a Russian translation of Edgar Allan Poe's poem, which Rachmaninov completed in 1913. Spring is an early and pallid setting for solo baritone, chorus and orchestra of a poem by Nikolai Nekrasov, with just enough anticipations of the mature composer to make it worthwhile, while the rather slight Three Russian Songs, composed in the US in 1926, sound like what they are, a homesick composer's evocation of a homeland to which he knew he would never return. Noseda shapes both works sympathetically but inevitably responds more vividly to the more expansive canvas of The Bells; all the performances have the benefit of the Russian soloists and the wonderful chorus of the Mariinsky Opera.**** --Guardian,19/01/12

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Language is essential in Russian choral works, so it was canny of Chandos to import three vocal soloists and the Mariinsky Chorus from native ground. This 2011 Prom in Albert Hall offered a rare chance to hear all three of these superb works (as it happens, I was in attendance); on records there is a Decca Eloquence reissue from Charles Dutoit and the Philadelphia Orch. containing the same program. Noseda comes closer to the raw, passionate delivery that seems truly Russian; Dutoit's American chorus sings by rote and cannot come close for authenticity.

The masterpiece here is The Bells, very loosely based on Poe's famous poem, which Rachmaninov uses as a platform to depict four ages of life from the bright, silvery joy of the first movement to the grave meditation on death at the end. Each movement is grounded musically by the sounds of different bells. Even though The Bells doesn't appear often in concert, there have been a surprising number of recordings, with the best being under Svetlanov (the most intense and Soviet of the lot), Pletnev, and Serebrier (a live recording like this one). For someone who wants the 'Spring' cantata and the Three Russian Songs as fillers - and they are very fine ones - Noseda easily surpasses Dutoit, not just in Russianness but in its vigor and inner life.

Nosed'as approach features some sophisticated music-making, setting it apart from Svetlanov, who is more attuned to Rachmaninov's gloominess. Newcomers might need a caveat that the solo voices, especially the tenor, are very Slavic in timbre, the tone being more in the throat and often with a pronounced vibrato approaching a wobble. What I like best is that we are thrown into the thick of an exciting live event.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very satisfying performances of outstanding works 15 Nov 2011
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Language is essential in Russian choral works, so it was canny of Chandos to import three vocal soloists and the Mariinsky Chorus from native ground. This 2011 Prom in Albert Hall offered a rare chance to hear all three of these superb works (as it happens, I was in attendance); on records there is a Decca Eloquence reissue from Charles Dutoit and the Philadelphia Orch. containing the same program. Noseda comes closer to the raw, passionate delivery that seems truly Russian; Dutoit's American chorus sings by rote and cannot come close for authenticity.

The masterpiece here is The Bells, very loosely based on Poe's famous poem, which Rachmaninov uses as a platform to depict four ages of life from the bright, silvery joy of the first movement to the grave meditation on death at the end. Each movement is grounded musically by the sounds of different bells. Even though the work doesn't appear often in concert, there have been a surprising number of recordings, with the best being under Svetlanov (the most intense and Soviet of the lot), Pletnev, and Serebrier (a live recording like this one). For someone who wants the 'Spring' cantata and the Three Russian Songs as fillers - and they are very fine ones - Noseda easily surpasses Dutoit, not just in Russianness but in its vigor and inner life (Noseda has long been associated with the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg).

Noseda's approach features some sophisticated music-making, setting it apart from Svetlanov, who is more attuned to Rachmaninov's gloominess. Newcomers might need a caveat that the solo voices, especially the tenor, are very Slavic in timbre, the tone being more in the throat and often with a pronounced vibrato approaching a wobble. What I like best is that we are thrown into the thick of an exciting live event. Chandos has coped well with the vastness of Albert Hall, even if the soloists feel a little jammed down our throats. All three works are haunting evocations of the old Russia that an emigre composer loved and longed for, and the performances capture that feeling with moving realism. I'd say that Noseda, who is leaving the BBC Phil. after this season, has ended his Rachmaninov cycle with one of its best instalalments.
5.0 out of 5 stars The beauty of Russian Music 13 Jun 2013
By Patrick J Flanagan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I am a newcomer to most Russian music, except for Tschaikovsky. I have long felt I should get to know Rachmaninov. So far I am very happy with all I have heard. Patrick J Flanagan
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