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Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2

32 customer reviews

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Audio, Cassette, 1975
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$7.50

Editorial Reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Original Release Date: 1975
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B00E6443BI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By David Robinson on January 6, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is the other "Rach 2". If you know Rachmaninoff through the piano works, and know that he was a brilliant performer, this symphony will astound you. It is a major romantic work, owing some heritage in the brass sounds to Tchaikovsky. Rachmaninoff seemed to have a bottomless well of haunting melodies. If you are trying to read while listening to this, you'll find yourself putting your work aside by the time you get to the Adagio (third movement).
1985 must have been "The Perfect Year" for Andre Previn and the RPO. In addition to recording the Elgar symphonies, the Previn/RPO team nailed this symphony in a crisp DDD recording. The tempi are nice and measured (without wallowing) and Previn takes the RPO from a whisper to some really kicking fortes. (The tuba and the rest of the brass sound wonderful if you have a sub-woofer).
A must-have CD for any serious lover of classical music.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By The Man in the Hathaway Shirt on May 3, 2002
Format: Audio CD
One of my fondest memories of this CD is playing it for a conductor friend, who'd been on the podium for about 40 years at the time. He generally didn't think much of Previn. This recording changed his mind. Following with the score, conducting from his chair, he said at the end "I heard lines I didn't think you could bring out in the score!" He's right.

Previn at his best has that ability, and it appears several times on this disc, whether in the plucky and dark scherzo (darker than most...the whole disc is very dark and moody) or the gradual unfolding of the opening movement, where many voices fuse together for a big tutti statement like only Rachmaninoff could do. This isn't terribly "deep" music, but it's great for a rainy day as you watch the drops roll down your window. The big buildup in the first movement is very well-considered, unlike many recordings where it seems to come from nowhere. Previn's trademark attention to line is readily apparent here. The third movement floats with a hushed ethereal quality as violins play so lightly at points you'll think bows will lose contact with the strings. Previn pushes the limits with dynamics, more so than is evident on his earlier EMI recordings, where it sounds like some compression was used. (He does this also on his Telarc Tchaikovsky 5th, another superb recording.)

The one minus is the colorless, somewhat restrained RPO violins. This is music of color (some would argue that's *all* it is), and while the lower strings and the winds are marvelous, the violins don't sound like they're on the same page in some instances. There are very good moments in this performance that could have been GREAT moments, if the strings had more expression, more body, if they just *gave* more Still, this is a great recording (and unlike Previn's RCA recording with the LSO it's uncut), and it is highly recommended. A superb sonic demo disc too.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Interplanetary Funksmanship on October 27, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The 1973 Ormandy version of the Rachmaninoff Second is my personal favorite, even more than the Previn, which itself is very passionate and energetic. One of the false charges critics level against Ormandy was that his famed "Philadelphia Sound" was a uniformly applied formula of warm, lush string tonality. This simplistic contention ignores the peerless contributions of the brass, winds and percussion. But, most importantly, it ignores Eugene Ormandy's complete and subtle understanding of the music he conducted. Like Erich Leinsdorf, Ormandy could memorize a score in a few hours. Like Toscanini, Ormandy comprehended the score on an intuitive, emotional, level.
This recording of the Rachmaninoff Second Symphony exemplifies this philosophy of conducting. Just as Sir John Barbirolli had a consumate, authoritative and implicit command of the music of Elgar and Sibelius, so did Eugene Ormandy possess the same qualities when it came to Rachmaninoff's. Whereas a conductor such as Stokowski or Previn (whose recording belongs in the Stokowski camp) would have command of the obvious, what gives the Ormandy recording its sense as an honest and thoroughly heartfelt performance is Ormandy's command of the intangible. What drives this performance are the nuances between and beneath the notes. A cursory listening could lead one to dismiss this performance as "formulaic," especially given the more "animated" performances out there. But with an understanding of Rachmaninoff's music, of his friendship with, and tutelage of, Ormandy, and of the ends to which Ormandy suboridinated the orchestra -- One realizes the "Philadelphia Sound" was hardly an end in itself.
The first movement opens in a state of dark melancholy.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mark Zimmerman on September 11, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I like the way "RumCow" says it's still the same old 1985 sound even though Amazon lists it as being issued in 2002. Apparently, from what I've noticed after reading Amazon's stats on CD's for a long time this apparently must mean that it was reissued in 2002, but is still the same recording it was for sound and performance from when it was first in print back in '85. Well, this Bipolar Bear rates for both Sound and Performance in my database for CD's where I rate things on a scale of from 0 - 11, 11 being Superb, can't find anything to complain about at all. Well, I rated this an 11 when I first got it in '85 and, even by today's standards in digital recording it still deserves an 11 for both Sound and Performance. So, don't hesitate. If you want a Rachmaninov Second by all means get this recording. It's still one of the best out there, and now at a reduced price!

Mark Zimmerman, Chicago - the Bipolar Bear
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