Rachmaninoff: Complete Symphonies / Slatkin, Detroit Symphony Orchestra

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Sergey Rachmaninoff's symphonic career had a rocky start with the premiere of his First Symphony, now recognized as one of the Russian symphonic works of...

Sergey Rachmaninoff's symphonic career had a rocky start with the premiere of his First Symphony, now recognized as one of the Russian symphonic works of the late 19th century. Both the powerful First Symphony and the gloriously melodic Second, with its lush harmonic Adagio second movement, are haunted by the Dies irae chant melody. Rachmaninoff considered his Third Symphony to be one of his finest works, alongside the exquisitely and virtuosic Symphonic Dances. The enduring attraction of these symphonies is enhanced by the 'impressive, highly desirable interpretations' (Gramophone) in this acclaimed edition conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

Past praise for previously released volumes included in this set:

Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3, Symphonic Dances

The more garish aspects of the Symphonic Dances, with its Dies irae quotation morphing into a Russian Alleluia, and the percussion parts generally, are kept under control, while the symphony’s glorious melodies, the last stand of the Romantic era in 1936, are allowed to flower luxuriantly. A crack Russian or British orchestra might be smoother in places, but there is a confident musicality here that is immensely appealing, and it has everything to do with a group of young players who realize that they are under the gun and have what it takes to succeed, under seasoned leadership. Highly recommended.

-- AllMusic.com (James Manheim)

Rachmaninoff: The Isle of the Dead & Symphony No. 1

This recording of the First Symphony is arguably the finest since Ashkenazy’s with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for Decca. Slatkin grinds out the opening bars with real menace, and he conceals the first movement’s episodic construction with flowing tempos and smartly managed transitions. The climax of the development section uses the glockenspiel part that seems to come and go in various recordings, but not the rest of the percussion that we find, say, with Litton on Virgin. Through it all the Detroit Symphony plays splendidly.

The crepuscular scherzo has an attractive lilt, while the Larghetto is just that: a small Largo, not one of Rachmaninov’s more hot and heavy statements in the mode of Symphony No. 2. Kudos to Slatkin for catching the movement’s gentle melancholy so well. As for the finale, it begins with plenty of the requisite panache, and culminates with a dark, powerful, and threatening coda that, if not quite as screamingly intense as Ashkenazy’s (the tempo is a bit quicker), comes as close as makes no difference. The trombones really put on a show here.

As for The Isle of the Dead, Slatkin’s performance doesn’t languish as some others do, and it’s all to the good. You really feel the five-in-a-bar rhythm in this performance, the lapping of the waves against the shore. The climaxes have tremendous impact, and the final appearance of the Dies irae sends a shiver down the spine. The work is all the more gripping for having such a strong rhythmic profile, and like the symphony it’s beautifully played (and recorded). Slatkin always has performed Rachmaninov as well as just about anyone alive today, and this cycle, quietly and with little fanfare as it has gradually appeared, sustains his reputation.

-- ClassicsToday.com (David Hurwitz)



Product Description:


  • Release Date: March 10, 2023


  • UPC: 747313327836


  • Catalog Number: 8503278


  • Label: Naxos


  • Number of Discs: 3


  • Period: ""


  • Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff


  • Conductor: Leonard Slatkin


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Detroit Symphony Orchestra


  • Performer: Leonard Slatkin



Works:


  1. The Isle of the Dead, Op. 29

    Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff

    Ensemble: Detroit Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Leonard Slatkin


  2. Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Op. 13

    Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff

    Ensemble: Detroit Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Leonard Slatkin


  3. Songs (14), Op. 34, No. 14, Vocalise

    Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff

    Ensemble: Detroit Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Leonard Slatkin


  4. Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

    Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff

    Ensemble: Detroit Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Leonard Slatkin


  5. Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44

    Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff

    Ensemble: Detroit Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Leonard Slatkin


  6. Symphonic Dances, Op. 45

    Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff

    Ensemble: Detroit Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Leonard Slatkin