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Sym 2/Vocalise

Sergei Rachmaninov Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 16.21 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Details


1. Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 27 - S. Rachmaninoff
2. Vocalise, No. 14 from Fourteen Songs, Op. 34 (Orchestral version) - S. Rachmaninoff

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Rachmaninoff's lush Symphony No. 2 qualifies as the archetypal Romantic symphony, full of opulent melodies and plush orchestral textures. López-Cobos and his Cincinnatians ease into the work--the slow, dark opening, with its subterranean basses and the climb up the tonal ladder to the brighter winds and strings, is played beautifully but without the inner tension or forward impetus it needs. The performance kicks into high gear for a driving Scherzo; the Adagio, with its gorgeous clarinet solo, is lovely; and the powerful finale climaxes the work in grand style. There are more fervent recordings than López-Cobos's, but none that bring out as much orchestral detail. The filler, the Vocalise, is a can't-miss delight. Ormandy, Temirkanov, and Previn's old EMI recording with the London Symphony may be preferable for the Symphony, but this one will give great pleasure. The disc is recorded at a low level, so you'll have to kick up the volume to get the most out of Telarc's stunning sonics. --Dan Davis

Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a good recording. May 16 2003
By A Customer
This issue is a strong addition to one of the most crowded works in the recorded repertoire. Lopez Cobos beautifully stretches out the first movement to over 20 minutes without an exposition repeat. Overall, the conductor's approach is slower, and a throughly measured interpretation of the symphony. This approach does not detract in any manner from the climactic junctures that listeners expect from this work.
This recording compares well with other recently issued or re-issued recordings. I compare it below to some others I have heard recently:
-Previn, Telarc, reissue: surpassed by this one.
-RCA, St. Petersburg Ph.: distinct but equally excellent.
-Previn, EMI, reissue: surpassed by this one (I just do not get it as to why the old Previn recording is regarded as so great).
-Jansons, EMI: surpassed by this one.
-Ashkenazy, Decca: still the benchmark.
-Bychkov, Philips: distinct, equally excellent, and sadly unavailable.
I do not find the need to turn up the volume as other reviewers have stated. On a 60 watt receiver, and 88dB speakers, this recording delivers spectacular acoustics at slightly above 1/4 volume (9 o'clock on the volume knob.) At any rate, the Telarc engineers have delivered a nearly unbeatable sound quality with this recording.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid, Warm Rachmaninoff 2 Oct. 18 2001
Read the chapter on Sergei Rachmaninov in the old two-volume Pelican survey of "The Symphony," edited by the late Robert Simpson, and you will find that, by the mid-1960s, the Russian's reputation had reached its nadir. Simpson, who himself wrote the chapter, calls the Second Symphony (1908) "diffuse" and refers to the composer's tendency to "take the easy way out." Simpson stints the Third (1936) even more than the Second, while reserving some praise for the (then) newly discovered First (1897). Perhaps the underestimation comes from Simpson's having been a totally different kind of composer from his subject; but Simpson's assessment might have been made by many another at that date. Of Rachmaninov's three symphonies, one heard only the Second in the concert hall, and then only in a performing edition with many cuts. On record, the situation differed but little. Things have changed a great deal in forty years. All three of Rachmaninov's symphonies have found their way back into the repertory and are especially well represented in the compact disc catalogues. The current critical consensus probably places them above the piano concertos in musical seriousness. New recordings appear all the time, and the Second, with the cuts restored, exists in many recorded editions. The new release from Telarc with Jésus López-Cobos leading the Cincinnati Symphony certainly takes its place in the front rank of "R2's." In sumptuous sound, it rivals Valéri Polyanksy's performance with the Russian State Orchestra on Chandos. (The Telarc recording is via one of those proliferating new processes -- whatever the explanation, it booms out magnificently from the speakers.) The Second's First Movement begins with an introduction that glowers darkly; it's Rachmaninov at his most melancholy. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Probably One of Telarc's Best Ever April 24 2001
The recording of Rachmaninov's 2nd Symphony on this CD could very well be one of the very best Telarc has ever made. The sound is so rich, so incredible, and close (which sometimes isn't the case with Telarc even though the sound quality is always consistently high). Rachmaninov wrote sections of thick strings that sound ultra lush. This recording captures all of the details from this wonderful symphony. In fact, there are details that are caught that I've never heard myself. Perhaps, this is because the recording is in sparkling new digital sound using Telarc's famed DSD technology. One note, the Amazon.com reviewer is correct. The recorded volume is low. You will have to turn up your stereo louder than most CD's but you will be pleasantly surprised at the wonderful sound that is produced.
Beyond the mere recorded sound of Rach's 2nd Symphony is a great performance. Lopez-Cobos is probably an unexpected source of a great interpretation of a Russian composer. Nevertheless, he delivers a stirring performance. Lopez-Cobos seems to have paid close attention to making sure the symphony flows well. In other performances, there is sometimes a choppiness especially in the shifting of melodic lines within the first movement. Not so in this performance. The orchestral playing is tight, lyrical, and flowing----BEAUTIFUL! One more note just because it was striking to me. The typani strokes in this are caught extremely well. If you know the symphony well, you will perhaps hear the tympani in places you've never heard before on record. So, try out this recording and hopefully you'll enjoy it as much as I have and am still enjoying.
Was this review helpful to you?
This recording from Telarc featuring the Cinncinati Symphony
under Jesus Lopez-Cobos is one of the better perfomances of the
Rachmaninioff Symphony no. 2 that I have heard in a long while.
Maestro Lopez-Cobos lets the work breathe and unfold in a natural
manner, the music is never forced or rushed. The inner orchestral
sounds are allowed their time in the spotlight. While some will
say that this recording will not replace the ones by Ormandy,
Previn, or others, I say that it can be placed along side of them
and not have to feel like it is second best. It can hold its
head high with any other recording of these works.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably One of Telarc's Best Ever April 24 2001
By Trevor Gillespie - Published on Amazon.com
The recording of Rachmaninov's 2nd Symphony on this CD could very well be one of the very best Telarc has ever made. The sound is so rich, so incredible, and close (which sometimes isn't the case with Telarc even though the sound quality is always consistently high). Rachmaninov wrote sections of thick strings that sound ultra lush. This recording captures all of the details from this wonderful symphony. In fact, there are details that are caught that I've never heard myself. Perhaps, this is because the recording is in sparkling new digital sound using Telarc's famed DSD technology. One note, the Amazon.com reviewer is correct. The recorded volume is low. You will have to turn up your stereo louder than most CD's but you will be pleasantly surprised at the wonderful sound that is produced.
Beyond the mere recorded sound of Rach's 2nd Symphony is a great performance. Lopez-Cobos is probably an unexpected source of a great interpretation of a Russian composer. Nevertheless, he delivers a stirring performance. Lopez-Cobos seems to have paid close attention to making sure the symphony flows well. In other performances, there is sometimes a choppiness especially in the shifting of melodic lines within the first movement. Not so in this performance. The orchestral playing is tight, lyrical, and flowing----BEAUTIFUL! One more note just because it was striking to me. The typani strokes in this are caught extremely well. If you know the symphony well, you will perhaps hear the tympani in places you've never heard before on record. So, try out this recording and hopefully you'll enjoy it as much as I have and am still enjoying.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Fine Recording from Cinncinati, and Lopez-Cobos April 25 2001
By Neaklaus - Published on Amazon.com
This recording from Telarc featuring the Cinncinati Symphony
under Jesus Lopez-Cobos is one of the better perfomances of the
Rachmaninioff Symphony no. 2 that I have heard in a long while.
Maestro Lopez-Cobos lets the work breathe and unfold in a natural
manner, the music is never forced or rushed. The inner orchestral
sounds are allowed their time in the spotlight. While some will
say that this recording will not replace the ones by Ormandy,
Previn, or others, I say that it can be placed along side of them
and not have to feel like it is second best. It can hold its
head high with any other recording of these works.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid, Warm Rachmaninoff 2 Oct. 18 2001
By Thomas F. Bertonneau - Published on Amazon.com
Read the chapter on Sergei Rachmaninov in the old two-volume Pelican survey of "The Symphony," edited by the late Robert Simpson, and you will find that, by the mid-1960s, the Russian's reputation had reached its nadir. Simpson, who himself wrote the chapter, calls the Second Symphony (1908) "diffuse" and refers to the composer's tendency to "take the easy way out." Simpson stints the Third (1936) even more than the Second, while reserving some praise for the (then) newly discovered First (1897). Perhaps the underestimation comes from Simpson's having been a totally different kind of composer from his subject; but Simpson's assessment might have been made by many another at that date. Of Rachmaninov's three symphonies, one heard only the Second in the concert hall, and then only in a performing edition with many cuts. On record, the situation differed but little. Things have changed a great deal in forty years. All three of Rachmaninov's symphonies have found their way back into the repertory and are especially well represented in the compact disc catalogues. The current critical consensus probably places them above the piano concertos in musical seriousness. New recordings appear all the time, and the Second, with the cuts restored, exists in many recorded editions. The new release from Telarc with Jésus López-Cobos leading the Cincinnati Symphony certainly takes its place in the front rank of "R2's." In sumptuous sound, it rivals Valéri Polyanksy's performance with the Russian State Orchestra on Chandos. (The Telarc recording is via one of those proliferating new processes -- whatever the explanation, it booms out magnificently from the speakers.) The Second's First Movement begins with an introduction that glowers darkly; it's Rachmaninov at his most melancholy. It then blossoms out into a gorgeous, insinuating theme that the composer develops leisurely but ingeniously. Many performances push the First Movement and press the climaxes for all that they're worth. López-Cobos holds back (as does Polyansky) so that greater weight can be placed on the three remaining movements. The Slow Movement glows; the Scherzo is wild, and so is the terrific Finale, which, at last, bears the full weight of the composition. The sound is wonderful, with plentiful detail and a spacious "stage." The "Vocalise" is likewise nicely done, coming across as more serious than it usually does. Marvelous. Recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a good recording. May 16 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This issue is a strong addition to one of the most crowded works in the recorded repertoire. Lopez Cobos beautifully stretches out the first movement to over 20 minutes without an exposition repeat. Overall, the conductor's approach is slower, and a throughly measured interpretation of the symphony. This approach does not detract in any manner from the climactic junctures that listeners expect from this work.
This recording compares well with other recently issued or re-issued recordings. I compare it below to some others I have heard recently:
-Previn, Telarc, reissue: surpassed by this one.
-RCA, St. Petersburg Ph.: distinct but equally excellent.
-Previn, EMI, reissue: surpassed by this one (I just do not get it as to why the old Previn recording is regarded as so great).
-Jansons, EMI: surpassed by this one.
-Ashkenazy, Decca: still the benchmark.
-Bychkov, Philips: distinct, equally excellent, and sadly unavailable.
I do not find the need to turn up the volume as other reviewers have stated. On a 60 watt receiver, and 88dB speakers, this recording delivers spectacular acoustics at slightly above 1/4 volume (9 o'clock on the volume knob.) At any rate, the Telarc engineers have delivered a nearly unbeatable sound quality with this recording.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatness from unexpected places July 17 2010
By RaabH - Published on Amazon.com
This has to be one of the great undiscovered gems of Rachmaninoff performance. Lopez-Cobos and the Cincinnati Symphony deliver a bold, lush and expressive reading of Rachmaninoff's most celebrated (and most recorded) symphony, making just enough of the "big tunes" to send a chill down the spine but never lingering so much that the forward momentum lags. The Scherzo movement (Allegro molto) has lots of snap too. This is the kind of performance that makes a convincing case for the Rachmaninoff Second as a true masterpiece. An added bonus is the glorious Telarc sound.

I'm pleased to have discovered this CD almost a decade after it's original release, and needless to say I recommend it very highly!
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