Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Symphony No. 2 in E minor (1905) [58.14]
Sinfonia Varsovia/Jose Cura
rec 3-4 December 2001, Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio, Polish Radio.

AVIE AV0022 [58.14]

Not currently available for purchase.


Cura, temporarily abandoning the stage, directs the Warsaw orchestra in a fast and powerful performance. 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 fact his grasp and focus is impressive; the more so in a work that has its longueurs. If you are averse to Previn's classic version on EMI with its smeared and haloed romantic aura then this is for you. This performance is full of vivacious temperament and fairly flies along. Not quite Golovanov (Boheme) but certainly close. Cura makes many telling points along the way and the fact that his foot is down on the gas pedal matters not a bit. I have heard several recordings of this work recently. Janssons with the St Petersburg sounds more natural but lacks the same rush as Cura. Kurt Sanderling and the Philharmonia are so much broader, are recorded more naturally but are nowhere near so excitingly presented. Svetlanov's battered and cut 1960s recording is perhaps the closest in urgency to Cura's. I really enjoyed this Avie version. It is closest to the full-blooded Russian approach. Some might find it shockingly quick but provided you do not insist on the viscously protracted you may well find yourself wanting more Rachmaninov from Cura.

Cura certainly rediscovers the furies in Rachmaninov's music. I think I have at last found the man and the orchestra to make the perfect Symphonic Dances. The Dances were superbly recorded by Kondrashin with the USSRSO back in the 1960s. The work sounds astounding in that Melodiya recording but has been unerringly and repeatedly fouled up when transferred to CD. Time to let Cura and Varsovians loose on that score coupled with the Third Symphony. There is a precondition. And that is that whatever Cura and the orchestra were on before they made this current recording they are treated to it again.

Non-existent background notes. Effective monochrome photo sequence showing Cura with the orchestra rather than in Karajan-like isolation.

Great Rachmaninov playing in a furious and tender version of the Second Symphony. A performance you imagined but never dreamed you would experience.

Rob Barnett

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