Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
on 5 December 2012
I delayed purchasing this CD as I already had several very fine versions of this symphony including those by Ormandy, Rachmaninov's friend and only champion for many years, Rozhdestvensky and Vernon Handley with the RPO but this eclipses them all, presenting this music in the most convincing interpretation yet, despite taking the risk of including the first movement repeat, thereby extending its duration beyond what some consider advisable.
That is certainly not the case here: instead of souping up the Schmaltz, Petrenko goes for a lean, propulsive account of this symphony in which every bar breathes passion and commitment. The RLPO plays out of its skin, conjuring up glowing colours and emphasising the lyrical without resorting to excessive application of rubato. The opening Largo is full of brooding menace, Petrenko gradually building pace and tension with an unerring ear. Both Allegro movements are memorable for their drive and brio, the triumphant climax to the Finale leaving the listener breathless. Central to the symphony of course is the famous Adagio; again, Petrenko catches its swooning ecstasy without lingering.
The hors d'oeuvre is the three dances from "Aleko", sombre, exotic and beautifully scored to give aural prominence to the lower tessitura woodwind and strings; the concluding "Men's Dance" is a wild orgy of sound.
A great disc, a worthy continuation of Petrenko's acclaimed Rachmaninov series with the RLPO. (The timing for track 6 is wrong; it's 13:55.)