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Evgeny Svetlanov Conducts Rachmaninov


Release Date: 11/11/2008 
Label:  Svetlanov Foundation   Catalog #: 4981   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Sergei YakovenkoAlexei MaslennikovGalina PisarenkoYevgeny Svetlanov
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony OrchestraUSSR Radio/TV Large ChorusYurlov Russian Choir
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 6 Hours 27 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



RACHMANINOFF Symphonies: Nos. 1–3. Symphonic Dances, op. 45. Vocalise: (arr. Kin); (arr. Svetlanov). 1 The Rock. The Isle of the Dead. Prince Rostislav. Caprice bohemien. Capriccio on Russian Themes. Scherzo in d . Aleko. Spring. 5 The Bells. 2,3,4,5 6 Choruses. Read more class="SUPER12">1,6 Moments musicaux, op. 16/3,5. 1 Piano Prelude, op. 23/4. 1 Elégie, op. 3/1 1 Yevgeni Svetlanov (pn, 1 cond); Alexei Maslennikov (ten); 2 Galina Pisarenko (sop); 3 Sergei Yakovenko (bar); 4 Yurlov Russian Ch; 5 USSR TV/R Large Ch Women; 6 Russian St Academic SO BOHEME 4981 (6 CDs: 386:28 Text and Translation)


Svetlanov’s Rachmaninoff is a known quantity (driven, lucid, and passionate), and this set mixes mostly familiar (and some seemingly unfamiliar) accounts from the archives, without ever telling us the recording dates or locations. The live Third Symphony suffers from some sonic jiggery-pokery: oddly extreme left/right splits of instrumental groups form a kind of weird stereo effect at times. The studio tape of the First also sounds a bit old and worn now, but it is still punchy. The rest is fine, and if you don’t know this First, then you don’t know the work. I heard it dismissed on the BBC recently for the rough edges, but Svetlanov clearly identified completely with the score, and drives it to hell, which seems apt, if unsettling. You also need to hear that Third, because of the seriousness of intent, the balance of color, feeling, and structure.


In the Symphonic Dances , the best of Rachmaninoff’s orchestral works, Svetlanov, like Pavel Kogan on Arco, gives the molto, molto rubato treatment to the reprise of the first dance’s big tune. It’s an understandable response to the greatness of the melody and to its meaning. The composer asks for a lot of expression at that point in his score, but this approach (I assume a Russian tradition, though Kondrashin is different) is too much for me. Elsewhere, op. 45 is dark and serious, though the central movement is also pulled around, and the finale goes on a bit. This is a hot, live performance, and you take the good with the spontaneously questionable.


The Second Symphony is projected with some feeling, anchored by the orchestra’s fine bass regions. The Isle is so-so, but the other short orchestral piece are fine, notably The Rock, and Rostislav . We’re missing the “Youth” Symphony, and instead get some vocal extras, which are not so easy to find elsewhere, but not memorable. The big choral pieces go well, especially The Bells , which is quite dark. Vocalise must have meant as much to Svetlanov as the First Symphony, and it gets the full treatment, in both versions. The other piano pieces are average.


Svetlanov sensed something great and fairly disturbing in Rachmaninoff’s work. These CDs are the best, imperfect record we have of his approach, along with the Warner remakes of the symphonies. The composer’s greatness is still underappreciated, in part because of the confusion of the tragedy of his life, with his American incarnation, his material success, and the opulence of the Rachmaninoff piano canon. Svetlanov does not give us the Three Russian Songs, but he does show us another side of a familiar composer. Plenty of modern versions available, of course, but really recommendable Rachmaninoff is a rarity. You do need this mid-priced set if you truly like Rachmaninoff. If you don’t know him at all, then these lively, historical performances would convince you that you should.


FANFARE: Paul Ingram
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in D minor, Op. 13 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895; Russia 
2.
The Rock, Op. 7 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
3.
Symphony no 2 in E minor, Op. 27 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906-1907; Russia 
4.
Isle of the Dead, Op. 29 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909; Russia 
5.
Symphony no 3 in A minor, Op. 44 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1936/1938; USA 
6.
Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1940; USA 
7.
Choruses (6), Op. 15 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR Radio/TV Large Chorus,  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1896; Russia 
8.
Spring, Op. 20 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yurlov Russian Choir,  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
9.
Aleko by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
10.
The Bells, Op. 35 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Sergei Yakovenko (Baritone), Alexei Maslennikov (Tenor), Galina Pisarenko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yurlov Russian Choir,  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1913; Russia 
11.
Songs (14), Op. 34: no 14, Vocalise by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Yevgeny Svetlanov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1912-1915; Russia 
12.
Prince Rostislav by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Russia 
13.
Capriccio on Gypsy Themes, Op. 12 "Capriccio bohémien" by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892-1894; Russia 
14.
Scherzo for Orchestra in D minor by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Russia 
15.
Morceaux de fantaisies (5), Op. 3: no 1, Elégie in E flat minor by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Yevgeny Svetlanov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Russia 
16.
Preludes (10) for Piano, Op. 23: no 4 in D major, Andante cantabile by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Yevgeny Svetlanov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; Russia 
17.
Moments musicaux (6), Op. 16: no 3, Andante cantabile in B minor by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Yevgeny Svetlanov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Russia 
18.
Moments musicaux (6), Op. 16: no 5, Adagio sostenuto by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Yevgeny Svetlanov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Russia 

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