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Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2/Vocalise/Scherzo


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Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2/Vocalise/Scherzo + Symphony No. 3, Symphonic Dances + Rachmaninov: Orchestral Works
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Pavel Kogan
  • Composer: Sergey Rachmaninov
  • Audio CD (18 Jan. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alto
  • ASIN: B001P5Q6VG
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 334,843 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 27 - Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
2. Vocalise - Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
3. Scherzo in D Minor - Moscow State Symphony Orchestra

Product Description

ALTO 1031; ALTO - Inghilterra; Classica Orchestrale

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By Aleph on 11 April 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I remember a long time ago (relatively speaking!) buying a copy of Previn's recording with the LSO, which majored on being a performance at full length, all cuts re-instated. At nearly an hour I was in seventh heaven, marvelling at the sheer invention of the composer and the intensity of his working. Having seen a mention of these recordings of the Moscow Sate Symphony I thought it might be worth listening and ended up getting all three symphonies in the series. A new benchmark as far as I'm concerned. Phenomenal interpretation that manages to skilfully avoid any suggestion of sentimentality and instead seems to re-define the meaning of romantic music. And Kogan doesn't fall into the trap that so many conductors have in the past of letting the music drag. As someone who appreciates it when a conductor picks up the pace I felt energised by this performance, as well as moved. Everyone has different mileage - I stll love Previn's recording - but being able to see how the same piece can be subtly enhanced in different hands gives a very valuable insight into the meaning and display of art. Wonderful stuff and heartily recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Top-Flight Rachmaninoff 16 May 2010
By Thomas F. Bertonneau - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sergey Rachmaninoff (1873 - 1943) has something in common with Hector Berlioz and William Walton - a restricted oeuvre that is necessarily much duplicated in the available discography. Of course, every pianist worth his digits wants to set his seal on the Second and Third Concertos and the Paganini Rhapsody, and many integral sets of the four concertos and the rhapsody exist. Conductors have regularly advocated Rachmaninoff as a purely orchestral composer. In the category of orchestral music there are, first of all, the three symphonies so-called, the choral symphony "The Bells," the Symphonic Dances (a symphony in all but name), and the tone poem "The Isle of the Dead." The Second Symphony (1908) has been a popular favorite since its debut although for many decades conductors played it with cuts, while the Third Symphony (1938) had early champions in Eugene Ormandy and Leopold Stokowski. The story of the First Symphony (1898) is well known: How a botched first performance under Alexander Glazunov put the score in a bad light, how Rachmaninoff, wounded, withdrew it, and how after his death Russian musicology restored the work, which is many ways the composer's most vivid and tightly controlled foray into strict symphonic form. Yevgeny Svetlanov, André Previn, Edo de Waart, David Zinman, Valery Gergiev, Yuri Temirkanov, and Mikhail Pletnev, among others, produced integral recordings of Rachmaninoff's symphonic works in the stereo and digital eras. New sets of these works face stiff competition and must rise considerably above any average in order to be worthy of notice.

To cut to the chase, Pavel Kogan's 1990 performances, just now released on the Alto label after twenty years of lying in the vaults, are equal to if not better than the most cherished items in the Rachmaninoff symphonic discography. Kogan's inscription of the Second Symphony, performed by him without cuts and running to sixty-five minutes, is perhaps the single best interpretation of that work that I have heard on disc, including the accounts by Previn and Zinman. What are the ingredients of Kogan's persuasiveness in this score?

One could begin by mentioning the bigness and lushness that Kogan coaxes from his band, the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra: Rachmaninoff's Second (in melancholy E-Minor) requires a rich, blended sound from the strings into which the woodwinds and brass insinuate their own colors or sonorities. Rachmaninoff's scoring of the Second differs in this way from his scoring of the First and Third and of the Symphonic Dances. There is a Richard Strauss-like thickness in the Second. Despite the velvety texture, Kogan never fails to bring out the important solo lines or to "explain" the often-polyphonic nature of the music. Next one could mention what I call Kogan's sense of "punctuation." Take the First Movement (Lento - Allegro Moderato). Kogan observes the "moderato" element of designation, allowing a noticeably measured pace, under which the movement requires some eighteen minutes to run its course. When old-school conductors like Ormandy and Alfred Wallenstein performed the Second Symphony, they justified the First Movement cuts on the argument that Rachmaninoff's tendencies were too discursive. Kogan obviously disagrees. What Kogan has found is the oceanic "pulse" of the movement, including the canniest grasp of its sequence of climaxes ever. Thus the music, far from overstaying its welcome, seems to fill out its dimensions with perfect naturalness. This is perhaps why the movement seems "fleet" to the other reviewer.

The same can be said of the Second Movement Scherzo, which remains robust but never becomes frenetic, and the Third Movement Adagio, where the wistfulness must never descend into mere sentiment. The horns (eight of them), which play a major role in the drama of this symphony, really come into prominence in the Adagio. Kogan manages them beautifully. Russian brasses used to have a reputation for irritating stridency (think of the old Svetlanov recordings on the Melodiya label) but nothing like that is the case here.

Rachmaninoff's Finale is wild: It is one of those movements where Rachmaninoff shows kinship with Stravinsky is exploiting the savage merriment in Russian folksongs and dances, but the effect is diminished when the movement is taken at too much of a rush, in which case it sounds hysterical rather than outgoing in a sane way.

The engineering contributes to the overall effect. This budget-priced CD sounds as good as many SACDs and Audio DVDs that I have heard. The Vocalise and the early Scherzo also get terrific performances. All Rachmaninovians should add this disc to their CD libraries. Kogan would be a good first choice for anyone wanting to explore Rachmaninoff without prior acquaintance.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Rachmaninoff Symphony #2 4 Mar. 2010
By Christopher F. Dodrill - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a wonderful recording of Rach's 2nd. Fleet, and to the point, Kogan takes his tempi fast, with little sentimentality. The final movement is especially rewarding. The fillers are a nice bonus.

It sounds like a Soviet orchestra, steely strings, blatant brass. Don't expect The Philadelphia, but it's a lot of fun at a great price.
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