Aureole etc.




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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Symphony No. 2 in E minor (1905) [67.21]
Philharmonia/Kurt Sanderling
rec. St Barnabas Church, Mitcham, Surrey, Apr 1989
WARNER CLASSICS APEX 0927 49044 2 [67.21]

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Sanderling coaxes and caresses every note and relishes every bar of this high-tide late romantic epic. His orchestra sounds voluptuously ample and the strings sing and seethe remarkably well. The soundstage illusion (for illusion is our currency) is that of a grand concert-hall or at least that is the impression. The dynamic range is very wide. Sanderling spends time reinventing each phrase and contour, breathing in significances and texts. In this he reminded me of Ormandy at one moment, of Levi in his Telarc recordings of Sibelius 1 and 5 and of Svetlanov at others. Despite the long playing time Sanderling weighs and shapes the phrases and momentum with such experienced judgement that the whole thing works well. His nemesis however comes in the finale which demands a galvanic and euphoric rush. Here however it sounds simply arthritic; at the other extreme you get the gabble into which the eruptive Golovanov falls in the superbly mastered Boheme CD. Such a pity since the other movements left me very deeply impressed indeed.

The competition is thick and numerous. The Previn classic is too smeared and sentimental to stand compare although at one time I thought extremely highly of it. The Melodiya conducted by Svetlanov is of the much cut version while Golovanov on Boheme is in a class of its own. Askhenazy is good; Janssons in a cheap EMI boxed set similarly.

Cura abandoning the opera stage directs the Warsaw orchestra in a fleet-footed and superb performance which stands at the other pole from Sanderling. This is brightly recorded by Avie. Cura's engineers have the listener floating freely weaving and diving from section to section in a way which may not be very natural but which grips the attention in a work that has its longueurs.

An extremely good expansive version let down a little by the too leisurely finale.
Rob Barnett




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