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Rachmaninov: Aleko / NEEME JARVI

Sergei Rachmaninov , Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra , Neeme Jarvi Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 July 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B00005EB0F
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 284,631 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TOP OF THE CLASS 18 Aug 2002
By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
This was Rachmaninov's submission to Arensky's composition class at the Moscow conservatoire as part of his final examination. If my dates are right, he was 19 when he composed it in something like 3 weeks and that is comparable as a phenomenon to what Mendelssohn achieved at a similar age. I can recommend Aleko sincerely to anyone looking for an unfamiliar short romantic opera. The libretto is simple and effective, a tale of lost love, jealousy and murder based on Pushkin's The Gipsies. It's not Otello, but I would call it very good music indeed. I don't hear any of the knockout tunes such as I know from his concertos, but it's at an impressive level of inspiration and accomplishment, not least in its orchestration. The performance strikes me as excellent, Ilya Levinsky in particular as a boyish and ardent 'young gipsy' -- this must be the only opera where the tenor lead does not even have a name. In terms of style it is not particularly radical, but I wonder whether there was some influence from Carmen -- quite a lot of the music of either opera would remain in the form of songs and dances if they were given as stage plays. Of other influences I heard a definite touch of Swan Lake in the prelude, but otherwise not much Tchaikovsky but a fair amount of Borodin in the dances. It's fine old Russian tragic-romantic stuff, and I just loved the lovers' tryst (in Russian, of course) -
'Tell me, where shall we meet again?'
'There, beyond the mound, by the grave.' Where else, where else indeed? It made me yearn for the odd cigarette-factory.
The recorded sound is first-class.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific 4 Jan 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Wonderful singing and superb musicianship throughout make this hard-to-find complete opera a real treat. The Cavatina gets a five star rating all of its own. A very young man's opera, composed while he was still at college, this is rewarding on so many levels.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TOP OF THE CLASS 15 Sep 2003
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This was Rachmaninov's submission to Arensky's composition class at the Moscow conservatoire as part of his final examination. If my dates are right, he was 19 when he composed it in something like 3 weeks and that is comparable as a phenomenon to what Mendelssohn achieved at a similar age. I can recommend Aleko sincerely to anyone looking for an unfamiliar short romantic opera. The libretto is simple and effective, a tale of lost love, jealousy and murder based on Pushkin's The Gipsies. It's not Otello, but I would call it very good music indeed. I don't hear any of the knockout tunes such as I know from his concertos, but it's at an impressive level of inspiration and accomplishment, not least in its orchestration. The performance strikes me as excellent, Ilya Levinsky in particular as a boyish and ardent 'young gipsy' -- this must be the only opera where the tenor lead does not even have a name. In terms of style it is not particularly radical, but I wonder whether there was some influence from Carmen -- quite a lot of the music of either opera would remain in the form of songs and dances if they were given as stage plays. Of other influences I heard a definite touch of Swan Lake in the prelude, but otherwise not much Tchaikovsky but a fair amount of Borodin in the dances. It's fine old Russian tragic-romantic stuff, and I just loved the lovers' tryst (in Russian, of course) -
'Tell me, where shall we meet again?'
'There, beyond the mound, by the grave.' Where else, where else indeed? It made me yearn for the odd cigarette-factory.
The recorded sound is first-class.
4.0 out of 5 stars Aleko should be in the repertory of the major opera houses. 13 Nov 2013
By A.F. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
"Aleko" should not be ignored by the great opera houses of the western world. Rachmaninov's opera is very close to the spirit of "verismo" , although with a definitely Russian accent. The cast is impressive as is the dynamic and impassionate baton of Neeme Jarvi.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent performances of a very interesting work 25 July 2010
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Rachmaninov's early opera Aleko inhibits the world of Tchaikovsky and The Mighty Five (although the former more than the latter). It is not a masterpiece, but still a mightily impressive, accomplished and interesting work containing several striking themes, numbers and arias. It surely deserves a place in the collection of any serious opera lover, and while I am not overly familiar with the alternative recordings, the one at hand can be firmly recommended.

First of all, it sports a fabulous Sergei Leiferkus, whose firm and steady and beautiful tone is full of character and depth. Second, Maria Guleghina is an expressive, expertly sung and steady Zemfira - I can hardly imagine this pair of soloists being much bettered in their respective roles. They are backed by a solid casting of the minor roles and a very good chorus, and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra is surely on top form. Järvi plays up the Tchaikovskian qualities of the work - full of drama, pathos and fire - and draws some marvelous playing from the orchestra (listen in particular to the brass, especially the snarls and braying in some of the orchestral interludes).

The sound is big and a little reverberant, but thoroughly effective in this powerful work. A strongly recommended release, then, of a very appealing work.
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