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Customer Review

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Rachmaninov 2 ever - in my opinion, 8 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: Symphony No.2 (MP3 Download)
This is a very popular symphony which has been recorded so may times you begin to wonder if a new recording can suggest anything new. I only bought it because I love what Petrenko is doing at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.
To be honest I had grown a bit weary of hearing the usual readings which seem overly saccharine and forced, as if the romance is squeezed out of the music through sheer force of will. What a refreshing and liberating experience then to hear a version that allows the music to do all the hard work!
For a start the timing is inspired. Take the first movement Largo/Allegro Molto. Ashkenazy with Concertgebouw = 18:03, Jansons with St.Petersburg = 17:48 and Dutoit with the Philadelphia = 19:43. Petrenko takes a full 23:22 and it is a revelation. Phrasing breaths naturally and beautifully. Balance across the orchestra ebbs and flows creating a kaleidoscope of colours. The structure of the movement is revealed and now tells the full story carefully and impressively. The other movements now follow on with purpose. I guarantee you will see this symphony differently if you listen through one sitting!
The orchestra is now on a par with the Bentley orchestras of the world. The string sound is like Philadelphia and St.Petersburg (who I used earlier as a comparison partly for this reason). Some orchestras run at their maximum performance to turn out a good CD but others seem to have bags of skill and craft under the hood (the Bentleys!) Here the RLPO seems to be saying "I could race you and win if I wanted to but I don't need to because I know I can." The result is that they ooze quality and assurance and are able to concentrate on the ensemble sound rather than watching the notes on the page.
Buy the CD and I dare you to say you don't agree!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Nov 2012 22:55:10 GMT
Timings: remember that Petrenko does the exposition repeat, which adds on another 3'30-45'', so the tempi aren't that much different from the others. The only version I have with expo repeat is Downes (22.32). Timings apart, it sounds very interesting, from yours & Gavin P's reviews: one to investigate.
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Location: Leighton Buzzard, England

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