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I don't want my Rachmaninov polished,
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1/Isle Of The Dead (Audio CD)
The year 2013 gave us some good recordings of Rachmaninov's First Symphony. Slatkin with his Detroit band (on Naxos), Petrenko in rainy Liverpool (on Warner/EMI) and Shui on BIS from Singapore (on BIS) all tackled this work recently. They do great jobs making this wonderful symphony, which caused Rachmaninov almost to take his own life and gave him a writers block and an nervous break down altogether, available which is as good as his other symphonic works. The Shui for instance is so polished and so beautifully recorded, it really nearly sounds like sweet chocolate. But that isn't the whole picture of Rachmaninov. Back in the 80s Ashkenazy and the great Concertgebouw Orchestra gave some performances and a subsequent recording on Decca of how raw this work can sound. Since then every sharp edge, every dissonant, every hysteria has been polished away and we've reached the point that every new recording of this symphony sounds the same. Sonics are great, but the performances don't have any pepper. It's like Coca Cola without the gas. So, if you'd think of buying 1 version of this symphony (or the cycle of three) consider this release, recorded in the 1990s I think, by this forceful Moscow band under the, relatively unknown - in the `West' that is - conductor Pavel Kogan. It all sounds a bit like the older conductor Vladimir Gnedash drove his orchestra into extremes with Lyatoshinsky, it's so full of energy, it grabs you by the throat.
Here you get the real raw emotions, the near hysteria, sometimes you'd even think, is this Scriabin or Rach?, a real Russian sound before the time every good orchestra sounds the same - like every other good pilsner tastes like Heineken - with blaring trumpets, near out of tune woodwind and feverish string playing. But don't think the sweeter side of this symphony is underplayed or run through, it isn't, it gets great attention and great detailed playing.
The pricing is ridiculously cheap so nothing can keep you away from doing what I did: buying all three symphonies and listen to them. And after that you'll find every other recording bland and flawed and won't be in need any more for another recording.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Jan 2015 13:19:43 GMT
Tim Chapman says:
You seem to be reviewing a different product - this is the LSO!
In reply to an earlier post on 14 Feb 2015 12:06:33 GMT
Richard Cowdell says:
What are you talking about? This review IS of the Kogan performance and is located correctly (for once) bvy Amazon.
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