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Rachmaninov Complete Symphonies Box set

1 customer review

Price: £17.12 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
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£17.12 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Rachmaninov
  • Audio CD (6 Oct. 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Newton Classics
  • ASIN: B0040Y7F5K
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 446,308 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Symphony No. 1
2. Isle of the Dead
Disc: 2
1. Symphony No. 2
2. The Rock
Disc: 3
1. Symphony No. 3
2. Symphonic Dances
Disc: 4
1. The Bells
2. Spring
3. Three Russian Songs

Product Description

For many years Rachmaninov's symphonic output was neglected, and it wasn't until the 1970s that the Second of his three symphonies was heard in its original uncut version. Slowly the realisation that this work and the masterful Third Symphony and Symphonic Dances were indeed able to stand comparison with the best of the symphonic repertoire finally dawned. They are now standard repertoire for most of the major orchestras, and as popular as the piano concertos with the public. The Philadelphia Orchestra was Rachmaninov's favourite, and the sound that it became famous for under Leopold Stokowski suits his music well. These recordings were praised for their sound upon release in the 1990s, and Charles Dutoit captures the 'Philadelphia Sound' admirably. Rachmaninov's own recording of the Third symphony was made with this orchestra, who premiered it under Stokowski in 1936.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 Dec. 2010
There's a real quandary in reviewing this set of gathered-up reissues of early 90s Dutoit/Philadelphia recordings of Rachmaninov orchestra music. It is at a wonderful budget price (a four-CD set for around $7 per disc at the time of this review) and contains a ton of music (275 mins) -- all three symphonies plus The Bells, Isle of the Dead, The Rock, Symphonic Dances, The Bells, Spring and Three Russian Songs -- and has some good performances by Rachmaninov's favorite orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra. But there are some clunkers, too, due to Charles Dutoit's uninspired conducting; the orchestra itself mostly sounds wonderful. I think probably the best advice would be that those who want all these works without a huge outlay of money could probably benefit from buying this set. But those who already know the works and are looking for more Philly performances of Rachy I'd suggest they think twice about getting it. Why? Well, although there are acceptable -- and in places wonderful -- performances of the Third Symphony, The Rock and Isle of the Dead, the other performances range from dull to deadly dull. The Second, which is my favorite of the three, seems to take forever although the timings are not that out of line. It almost sounds like a sluggish run-through, perfunctory mostly, although the second movement catches fire until it gets to the middle section which slacks off. The performance of the First Symphony, which really does need a special approach from the podium, is simply poor; let's face it, the First is not the greatest symphony but a sympathetic performance like that led by Asheknazy ...Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
An OK Budget Reissue of Rachy's Complete Symphonies and Other Orchestral Works 28 Dec. 2010
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
There's a real quandary in reviewing this set of gathered-up reissues of early 90s Dutoit/Philadelphia recordings of Rachmaninov orchestra music. It is at a wonderful budget price (a four-CD set for around $7 per disc at the time of this review) and contains a ton of music (275 mins) -- all three symphonies plus The Bells, Isle of the Dead, The Rock, Symphonic Dances, The Bells, Spring and Three Russian Songs -- and has some good performances by Rachmaninov's favorite orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra. But there are some clunkers, too, due to Charles Dutoit's uninspired conducting; the orchestra itself mostly sounds wonderful. I think probably the best advice would be that those who want all these works without a huge outlay of money could probably benefit from buying this set. But those who already know the works and are looking for more Philly performances of Rachy I'd suggest they think twice about getting it. Why? Well, although there are acceptable -- and in places wonderful -- performances of the Third Symphony, The Rock and Isle of the Dead, the other performances range from dull to deadly dull. The Second, which is my favorite of the three, seems to take forever although the timings are not that out of line. It almost sounds like a sluggish run-through, perfunctory mostly, although the second movement catches fire until it gets to the middle section which slacks off. The performance of the First Symphony, which really does need a special approach from the podium, is simply poor; let's face it, the First is not the greatest symphony but a sympathetic performance like that led by Asheknazy Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1, Concertgebouw Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy makes a much better case for it. The recording of the Third comes in somewhere in between those of the Second and the First, with some real beauty in the first and third movements. The second movement's Adagio, however, drags and strangely sounds more distantly recorded than the outer movements.

As for the non-symphonies here, the best of the lot are the Symphonic Dances and Isle of the Dead. At the risk of making an ungainly pun, the Isle of the Dead has some life to it, which is to say that there is dramatic tension and inevitability that leap right out of the speakers. The same can be said for the Symphonic Dances. The vocal/orchestra selections -- The Bells, and the Three Russian Songs -- are only a slight margin above mediocre. Nothing special here although Sergei Leiferkus, among the soloists, especially in 'Spring', is excellent.

Scott Morrison
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