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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting climax to a superb Rachmaninov cycle - from the "provinces", 10 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1 (Audio CD)
Having already enthusiastically received Petrenko's previous half a dozen Rachmaninov recordings with the the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, I was hardly going to stop short of buying this one, but it's not for reasons of completism that I am singing its praises. I honestly cannot hear a second-rank orchestra at work here; Petrenko has inspired and galvanised this regional orchestra into playing in kingly fashion.

I like very much Walter Weller's volatile and hard-driven account of the D minor symphony with "The Rock" on the bargain Eloquence issue but this version is more refined and even better played - and in superior digital sound. Comparisons with that Weller recording and the famous Ormandy version are not quite apposite insofar as Petrenko uses the original score with all the extra percussion which gives the reading such bite and impact. I refer you to Stewart Crowe's review for the gist of my reaction; I see no point in repeating what he has already said so succinctly. This is a thoroughly convincing performance - live, although you'd never know it except for the gain in its energy; there are virtually no extraneous noises. Petrenko conveys such conviction in his constantly shifting tempi and attention to colouristic detail; this is a whirling, shifting, kaleidoscopic interpretation which seems to whip through the music avoiding all longueurs, despite Rachmaninov's constant re-working of one theme. I seem to hear more kinship with Sibelius's soundworld in Petrenko's vision; I am frequently struck by the otherworldly passages in which flute and other woodwinds are prominent.

The introductory "symphonic poem" is a juvenile work with obvious connections to Rachmaninov's "Isle of Dead". That work is a masterpiece whereas the hypnotic water music of this earlier composition is less compelling, but Rachmaninov's unmistakable voice is already prominent and proleptic of later works. I like it very much and am glad of the opportunity to hear it.

This puts the cap on a splendid Rachmaninov series from a true rising star amongst young conductors.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Dec 2013 11:39:30 GMT
D. S. CROWE says:
Thanks for reminding us of the Weller-I had it on LP but have never owned it on CD. I've ordered the Eloquence version. 2&3 had been recorded by Decca with the OSR under Paul Kletzki of course, but he sadly passed away before he could tackle the first. Weller's 2nd with the LPO was beautiful too-very svelte, much leaner and refined the Previn's! Previn's First sounds like he is a bit embarrassed by it's youthful naivety and he smooths all the rough edges out of it so that it becomes bland-Pletnev has a similar approach. This new one is just stunning-glad that you love it as much as I do!!
Great days for the RLPO!

Posted on 13 Dec 2013 23:11:26 GMT
I'm glad to hear Walter Weller's extraordinarily intense recording being praised. Eloquence issued it as a separate disc before releasing it again as a 2CD set with Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3. It's curious that Decca had shown no interest in reissuing it since its appearance in their mid-price Jubilee LP series in 1980.

Posted on 28 Dec 2013 19:00:17 GMT
Music Lover says:
I thought we'd gotten over this "provincial" orchestra tosh years ago. London and other capitals do not have the monopoly on first-rate orchestras or musicians. The standard of orchestral playing is so much higher now than it used to be and technical accomplishment is to be found in capitals and provinces alike. I am proud to live within easy access to the Halle, Royal Liverpool, BBC Phil, Orchestra of Opera North and others. None of them are second rank. They can and do attract the finest players.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Dec 2013 19:35:45 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Dec 2013 19:36:08 GMT
Ralph Moore says:
I'm not clear if you are agreeing with me or berating me, Music Lover, but as I could hardly be more effusive in my praise of this orchestra and its whole Rachmaninov series under Petrenko, or, for that matter, orchestras like the Hallé with Mark Elder, I would like to think that I am doing my bit to deflate any such prejudice. I used regularly to attend the CBSO in Birmingham and found them similarly excellent - but, to maintain balance for a moment, that doesn't mean to say that London does not have the finest orchestras of all in the LPO, LSO, the Philharmonic et al. There is still a hierarchy. I happen at the moment to be lucky enough to live within easy striking distance of London, but I am delighted that music-lovers in the North can equally enjoy superb orchestras - that's all. No need to get heated.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Dec 2013 19:42:36 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Dec 2013 19:47:45 GMT
D. S. CROWE says:
I'm a bit taken back by this posting by Music Lover-(aren't we all?.) Did anyone say the RLPO was anything other than first rate?
However, many of us have long memories and it was not always the case that Regional UK orchestras were first rate. The CBSO under Rignold was doing well if it started and finished together. The BBC Northern SO -the precursor to the Philharmonic-under Groves was little better than functional, the SNO was thin and tinny sounding, and the Liverpool PO, as it then was, was barely adequate. The Halle nearly went bust-it was a dreadful band further ruined by Nagano until resurrected by Elder. All these bands are superb NOW-but we can be forgiven for still marvelling at the transition over the last 30 years or so.
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