Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively
CD: Crotchet

 

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1945)
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27 (1906-07) [54:44]
Nicolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34 (1887) [15:51]
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/Edo de Waart
rec. April 1976, De Doelen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
PENTATONE CLASSICS PTC5186 153 [70:35]
Experience Classicsonline

PentaTone are remastering analogue Philips recordings from the 1960s and 1970s as part of their RQR series. The discs offer both CD and SACD layers, but the emphasis is on surround sound. Quite why these Rotterdam performances were selected for this treatment isn’t clear, as they weren’t front-runners in their LP form. The re-mastered Sir Colin Davis/Berlioz recordings are a different matter entirely; the classic Concertgebouw Symphonie fantastique is already out (PTC 5186 184) and the Requiem is promised for July (PTC 5186 191).
 
So, is this all-Russian disc worth resurrecting? De Waart’s Rachmaninov is spacious, yet the playing seems strangely flaccid. The cumulative power of the first movement simply isn’t there and those distinctive touches – the lonely cor anglais, for instance – lack the necessary tingle factor. Apart from that there is precious little instrumental detail on either layer. Very odd indeed.
 
Even though the Rotterdam Philharmonic play eloquently in the Largo – the strings are particularly yearning – they sound bland. And then there’s the curious incident of the timp stroke at the end of this movement. It isn’t in the score but, to be fair, other conductors – Jansons and Steinberg among them – tack it on too. It’s an unnecessary embellishment and, in this case, it’s clumsily executed as well.
 
Moving on to the second movement the unison horns at the start are just too recessed to make an impact. In fact the perspectives are a problem throughout, the orchestra placed further back than is ideal. This soft-grained sound, combined with de Waart’s lacklustre conducting, results in a performance that’s low in energy and short on excitement.
 
In the lovely Adagio the rising string theme is beautifully articulated and the ensuing clarinet ‘aria’ produces one of the few thrills on this disc. But that doesn’t even begin to compensate for an otherwise unremittingly dull performance. And although the final movement heralds the arrival of some much-needed drama it turns out to be short lived. Even those powerful, swirling melodies sound unbelievably sluggish.
 
PentaTone have clearly miscalculated with this release. Yes, there are listeners who crave multichannel Rachmaninov but surely they’d want something a bit more enticing than this? If you’re after a vital, vigorous performance of this symphony – albeit in old-fashioned stereo – try Mariss Jansons and the St Petersburg Philharmonic on EMI Encore 5850752 (or in three CD set – see review) or splash out on the much-admired Yevgeni Svetlanov box (Warner Classics 112238) (see review).
 
In his centenary year one can only hope that Rimsky-Korsakov gets some worthwhile new recordings. The Capriccio Espagnol certainly isn’t his finest work, but it’s one of his most popular. According to the composer it should ‘glitter with dazzling orchestral colour’, instructions that Jansons and the London Philharmonic take to heart in their fizzing collection of Russian lollipops (EMI 5751722). By contrast the Dutch band sound desperately drab in this work. The too-distant horns struggle to make amends in the Variations, but even at this stage the performance is beyond rescue.
 
At least the side drum and brass that announce the gypsy song should make one sit up and take notice. Jansons and the LPO manage it easily enough, but then they are aided by a wide-ranging Abbey Road recording. By contrast the Dutch performance is tepid and although it does warm up a little in the Fandango it never comes to the boil.
 
One likes to find some redeeming features in a recording but as with de Waart’s recent Zarathustra (see review) there simply aren’t any here. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine less inspired performances of these two concert favourites. The liner-notes are adequate but the track listings are inaccurate.
 
Musically and sonically perverse. Avoid.
 
Dan Morgan
 
 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.