Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 3; The Rock

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COMPOSERS: Rachmaninov
LABELS: DG Masters
WORKS: Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 3; The Rock
PERFORMER: Berlin PO/Lorin Maazel
CATALOGUE NO: 445 590-2 DDD (1982-84)
Rachmaninov’s music, like his facial appearance, has a Slavic melancholy reminiscent of Tchaikovsky; indeed the older composer was interested in conducting The Rock, but death intervened. Centrepiece of this set is the (uncut) Second Symphony with its fine clarinet solo in the moving third movement, while the compact three-movement Third Symphony is given a taut reading. Rachmaninov himself thought little of the First Symphony after Glazunov’s incoherent conducting of its 1897 premiere, but this disc makes a case for performance. Throughout, the Berliners play immaculately. Maazel is swift of tempo, slick in detail, cool at heart. Christopher Fifield

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