The sound is decent, clean mono, very well remastered in this new edition--and what can you say about the performances? The Britten was composed for Rostropovich and has Britten himself on the podium before the Moscow Philharmonic (Kondrashin's orchestra, let us not forget). I greatly prefer the plangent tang of the Russian orchestra in this work to the vanilla tones of the English Chamber Orchestra in the composer's official Decca recording--just listen to the way the cellos and basses dig into the opening, clarifying their gnarly chromatic lines, or to the brazen trumpet that launches the finale.
Happily, the symphony's disc mates are every bit as fine--not that there was ever much doubt. Under the watchful and by noRead more means passive baton of Rozhdestvensky, this performance of the Shostakovich First Cello Concerto is almost painfully intense. The outer movements radiate such a degree of nervous tension that you might find yourself biting your nails as you listen, while the great cadenza has a hushed concentration (as well as beauty of tone and sadness of expression) unmatched on disc. The Britten Second Cello Suite makes a fine bonus and is well placed between the two emotionally draining orchestral works. Need I say that this is the stuff of legends? [5/7/2004]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68by Benjamin Britten Performer:
Mstislav Rostropovich (Cello)
Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1963; England
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