Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Playing and Sound Quality., 8 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: The Bells; Symphonic Dances (Audio CD)
This is repertoire that was known to me, but short of great recordings and so it's wonderful to have a disc that fills that void, from one of the best orchestra/conductor combinations in the world.

The recording quality is wonderful and there are plenty of earth-shattering climaxes where you might reach for the volume control, as the timpani and gongs blast the ears. Dynamic range is wide on CD, from the opening pianissimo to huge tuttis and this is no lightweight, as we would expect from a Russian composer.

Conductor, Berlin Phil, choirs and soloists all impress with their virtuosity throughout and I am glad to have heard this material. However, I can't help thinking that the Bells has a slightly dour ending and that the Symphonic Dances are too weighty for a ballet score. There are great moments and setpieces where you hear what this is all about, but I'm not sure either piece works as a whole or is completely satisfying?

I can't imagine anybody making a more eloquent case than these forces, however and it feels wrong to complain about such wonderful music-making. But for me, this repertoire's not quite up there with the piano works, but certainly worth a listen.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Oct 2013 20:20:00 BDT
 says:
Bought on your recommendation, Bruce! ;-)

Mike

Posted on 9 Mar 2015 06:00:35 GMT
Both are the composer at his finest. I don't think that Dances is the key word in an ironic title for a work that hammers home the Dies Irae. I always consider it to be his 4th symphony (and the best with only the somewhat rambling No.2 as serious competition) perhaps lacking one more movement and a fitting masterpiece to end his compositional career. The Bells is a fine work but not on the Dances' level. Comparisons with the piano works don't really work for me as the mediums are worlds apart. Good review though to which I have given a positive rating.
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