- Orchestra: Russian National Orchestra
- Conductor: Mikhail Pletnev
- Composer: Sergey Rachmaninov
- Audio CD (June 14, 1994)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Deutsche Grammophon
- ASIN: B000001GLZ
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,617 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Rachmaninov: Symphony No.2 / The Rock
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Top Customer Reviews
Listen to "The Rock", a beautiful early miniature, and we hear orchestra and conductor at their best. Both the delicacy of the early woodwind solos and the wonderful, trombone-heavy climax are perfectly realized. The sound here is exemplary.
In the symphony, Pletnev emphasizes the cogency of Rachmaninov's symphonic argument. Like the previous reviewer, I especially enjoyed the unsentimental but moving performance of the Adagio. The very fast tempo for the finale is amazing.
Taken on its own terms this CD will give much pleasure. However, listen to the recording of the symphony by Sanderling with the Leningrad PO on DG Originals and you hear, expecially in the first movement, a depth of emotion and a spontaneity which is missing here. And although that recording is in mono, it offers clearer, less congested sound than DG gives us here in the symphony.
In conclusion, this CD is worth buying for what is problably the best ever recording of "The Rock", and for an excellent, but not definitive, reading of the symphony.
Problems start in the first movement which for all its virtuoso performance comes across as curiously detached. Pletnev's choice of speeds are the principal cause of most of the problems. It all starts well enough, but upon encountering the first Allegro, it doesn't take long to notice the ensemble isn't as good as it should be. The reason is Pletnev has taken things a little too fast. The problems really set in at the Meno Mosso after Fig 13. This is taken way too fast and results in Pletnev making the next quick section quicker still and quicker than marked as well. The result is a messy rendering of rhythms and articulation throughout the orchestra. Semiquavers are played no different to triplet quavers which, considering the detail Rachmaninov put into his score is simply unacceptable. Details in rhythm right, left and centre are ignored in the headlong rush. There is also a quite ugly bit of over playing from the first trumpet in the climax before Fig 19. Yuk.
The second movement is perhaps the most sucessful. Pletnev's control here is better for the most part and his choice of tempos leave his players some room to play their best and the music gets chance to breathe. In the quicker outer sections, the Russian orchestra gets chance to show its virtuosity without having to compensate for excess sppeed.
The same cannot be said about the Adagio which is again taken very quickly. The peace and repose that Previn and principal clarinet Jack Brymer managed to bring is in short supply here. Rachmaninov's tempo is 50 beats a minute, yet Pletnev starts at 60, a significant difference and it shows to the detriment of the performance.Read more ›
This is a capable reading that displays the kind of surface polish and moderate instincts of Vladimir Ashkenazy or, long ago, Eugene Ormandy. We get bold, beautiful sounds. The fact that the Russian National Sym., which Pletnev founded, was capable of playing up to international standards -- not always true for Soviet orchestras -- made a big impression back then but less so now. The recorded sound is close and full of impact. Nothing goes amiss, but for real distinction you have to look toward past masters of this symphony: Svetlanov, Termirkanov, Bychkov, and the afore-mentioned Gergiev and Jansons are my favorites. Still, if their recordings vanished and only Pletnev's remained, we would be admiring it as thoroughly accomplished and beautifully executed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a great master piece, the 2nd symphony is one of those pieces you have to have in your library and this recording is bar far the best there's out therePublished on December 23, 2012 by Aranjuez Artistic Services
The competition in Rachmaninov's second symphony is relatively fierce and I have seen some critics hail Mikhail Pletnev's version with the Russian National Orchestra as a top... Read morePublished on August 17, 2011 by G.D.
With the reviewer who gave this two stars, i agree about one thing: if you want to listen to Previn's version, don't expect this to fulfill your fantasies. Other than that... Read morePublished on March 17, 2010 by dissonance