British Music Box set
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Box set containing a compilation of British music conducted by Simon Rattle. As well as the tracks listed it also includes 'Incidental Music' from 'Grania and Diarmid, Op. 42' and 'The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38, Part I' by Edward Elgar, 'The Lark Ascending' and 'Songs of Travel' by Ralph Vaughan Williams, 'Thus Spake Isaih' from 'Belshazzar's Feast' by William Walton and 'La Vallée Des Cloches' from 'Miroirs' by Maurice Ravel, amongst others.
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The set contains :
Mussorgsky 'Pictures from an Exhibition' (Mussorgsky orch. Ravel).(BPO)
Borodin 'Symphony No.2 in B minor' (BPO)
Borodin 'Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor' (orch. Glazunov & Korsakov)(BPO)
Rachmaninov 'Symphony No.2 in E minor op.27' (Los Angeles PO)
Rachmaninov 'Vocalise op.34' (Felix Kok Violin)(CBSO)
Rachmaninov 'Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor op.18' (Oussett Piano)(CBSO)
Rachmaninov 'Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini op.43'(Oussett piano) (CBSO)
Rachmaninov 'Symphonic Dances op.45'(CBSO)
Shostakovich 'Symphony No.1 in F minor op.10' (BPO)
Shostakovich 'Symphony No.4 in C minor op.43' (BPO)
Shostakovich 'Symphony No.10 in E minor op.93'(Philharmonia O)
Shostakovich 'Symphony No.14 op.135' (BPO)
Prokofiev 'Symphony No.5 in B flat op.100' (CBSO)
Prokofiev 'Scythian Suite op.20' (CBSO)
Prokofiev 'Piano Concerto No.1 in D flat op.10' (Gavrilov Piano)(Phil O)
Gubaidulina 'Zeitgestalten' (CBSO)
The Rachmaninov "symphonic dances" have only ever seen a release on vinyl so this is the first time the whole thing has appeared in cd format in full.
On its release Gramophone gave it the definite thumbs up. Whilst it may not have the power, energy or brutality of the Ashkenazy version on Decca, or quite the recording quality of that version it is definitely a valid alternative. Here it is given a good transfer with a dynamic range comparable to or even better than its vinyl incarnation 25 years ago. A definite purchase for any Rattle 'completists' out there.
The gavrilov Prokofiev concerto is given a vibrant and energetic performance and the Shostakovich 4th a suitably brutal ending on a recording which received BBC radio 3's best recommended recording a few years ago.
The sound quality across all the recordings is of a high quality considering the 25 year range of recordings from mainly his CBSO era, and pre CBSO era though there are a couple of recordings from his more recent Berlin performances and one from the Los Angeles PO.
The recordings don't appear to have been remastered (though the 'Symphonic dances' may be an exception and the original cd mastering of the other pieces stand.
An oversight is that strangely EMI have not included the 1st violin concertos recorded with Sarah Chang of Prokofiev and Shostakovich. This is no great loss as there are several better performances in the catalogue.
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