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Symphonies 1-3 Import

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 20 1997)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Melodiya
  • ASIN: B000001HDO
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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Disc: 1
1. Symphony No. 1 In D Minor, Op.13: 1. Grave - Allegro ma non troppo - Allegro vivace
2. Symphony No. 1 In D Minor, Op. 13: 2. Allegro animato
3. Symphony No. 1 In D Minor, Op. 13: 3. Larghetto
4. Symphony No. 1 In D Minor, Op. 13: 4. Allegro con fuoco
5. Symphony No. 2 In E Minor, Op. 27: 1. Largo - Allegro moderato
6. Symphony No. 2 In E Minor, Op. 27: 2. Allegro molto
Disc: 2
1. Symphony No. 2 In E Minor, Op. 27: 3. Adagio
2. Symphony No. In E Minor, Op. 27: 4. Allegro vivace
3. Symphony No. 3 In A Minor, Op. 44: 1. Lento - Allegro moderato - Allegro
4. Symphony No. 3 In A Minor, Op. 44: 2. Adagio ma non troppo - Allegro vivace
5. Symphony No. 3 In A Minor, Op. 44: 3. Allegro - Allegro vivace
6. Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa6329a50) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa661b9d8) out of 5 stars The characteristic Slavic performances of real passion and emotional zest. Dec 10 1999
By David Anthony Hollingsworth - Published on
Svetlanov performances with the USSR State Symphony (in Symphony no. I and Vocalise), with the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra (in Symphony no. II), and with the USSR Radio and Television Large Symphony Orchestra (in Symphony no. III) are characteristically done with emotional drive, the unashamed Russian expressiveness and fever-pitched intensity that are to be found in almost all of maestro’s recordings. And although his readings are generally more direct and less probing, pliant, and stylish than, say, Ashkenazy or Temirkanov. (EMI), he remains thoroughly Slavic in zeal. In the slow movements of the Rachmaninoff symphonies, one may wish for that extra poetry and gentleness, but the music making is captivating. The finale of the First Symphony is done with utmost virtuosity, even though Ashkenazy’s more patient take with the Royal Concertgebouw brings out more of the anguish and gloom more naturally and tellingly (the apocalyptic feel that continues to grip me to the core).

The recorded sound is somewhat shallow, raw, and brittle (more so in loud passages). And yet it is adequate enough and not so distracting. The Ashkanazy Decca set is more preferable, due to a more penetrating yet clearer sound, more disciplined yet passionate playing of the Concertgebouw orchestra, Ashkenazy’s more ideal tempo choices in places, and the inclusion of other works such as the Bells, the Isle of the Dead, the Symphonic Dances, and the Three Russian Folk-songs. But this set is special, and a glowing testament of the artistry of Svetlanov and his orchestras, in Russia’s terms.

Highly recommendable.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa64a7ee8) out of 5 stars Magnificent Performances April 11 2007
By David A. Wend - Published on
I was privileged to attend a performance of the Rachmaninov First Symphony (composed 1895/96)conducted by Maestro Yevgeney Svetlanov conducting his USSR Symphony Orchestra, and it was an unforgettable experience. The recording in this set of the First brings that performance back to life and is certainly the best recording of the work available; no other recording has been able to match the depth of emotion and expression that Maestro Svetlanov has achieved. The only recording that comes close to the same visceral performance is Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra. The turmoil reflected in the First Symphony was possible mirrored in the composer's life at the time; the symphony is dedicated to Anna Alexandrovna Ladyzhenskaya, a married woman of Gypsy extraction with who Rachmaninov was probably in love with. The symphony contains some gypsy-like melodies including a fragment from the Dies irae. The score quoted a live from Deuteronomy that was also quoted by Tolstoy in Anna Karenina: "To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense."

The Second Symphony (1906/07) is a world apart from the First reflecting a settled middle-life. The music was composed in Dresden, which was an international music center at the time. The Second is probably considered Rachmaninov's most "romantic" work but careful listening reveals the tensions underlying the music. The first movement is has an atmosphere of brooding broken by stormy passages and the second movement is a Scherzo that is frenzied and includes a brief quote from the Dies irae in the form of a brass chorale. The third Adagio movement begins with a lovely, romantic melody that has been popularized in "pop" music; the finale brings together theme from the prior movements with glorious effect. Because of the 60 minute length of the symphony and that the composer was unsure of himself as a symphonist; the Second was subjected to some cuts. I grew up listening to a recording by Ormandy and was very much surprised to discover that there was much more music to be heard. The cuts have been restored but there are several recordings prior to the 1960's that played the cut version. Maestro Svetlanov's performance is uncut.

The Third Symphony (1935/36) comes from the composer's exile in Switzerland and is cast in three movements. Once again, Rachmaninov has used the Dies irae theme in the final movement and also in the ghostly beginning notes of the first. The Third is pessimistic music; Rachmaninov no longer believed in the moral growth of people and the martial music, particularly in the first movement, suggests the cataclysmic war that was coming.

The sound of these recordings is not the best but the performances are among the best available. There are times during the First Symphony when the loudness of the orchestra (particularly the tympani) distorts the sound; however, the sheer power of the performance demands that it be heard. The Bolshoi Theater Orchestra performs the Second Symphony with great beauty and the recording quality is much improved but a bit cavernous sounding. The Third Symphony is better engineered even though it is the earliest (1962) of the recordings. If you already have other Rachmaninov symphony cycles you should try this one as well.