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Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1; The Isle of the Dead / Detroit SO, Slatkin

Album Summary

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : The Isle of the Dead, symphonic poem, Op. 29
>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Symphony no 1 in D minor, Op. 13 (lost; reconstructed from piano duets and orch. fragments)
Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

After the disastrous failure of its premiere in 1897, Rachmaninov's youthfully exuberant Symphony No. 1 had to wait until after his death before it was reconstructed from the surviving orchestral parts and performed again, in Moscow in 1945. Since then it has taken its rightful place as one of the great Russian symphonic works of the late nineteenth century. The Isle of the Dead, Op. 29 is a vivid and powerful symphonic poem based on a well-known nineteenth century painting by the Swiss symbolist artist Arnold Bocklin.

MusicWeb International, 21st October 2013
Slatkin's take on both works is well worth hearing; indeed, I suspect these very solid, middle-of-the-road readings will appeal to many...Good, if not up there with the best; the Detroit band are splendid though.

Gramophone Magazine, October 2013
The emotional contours of the music are naturaly shaped...These are impressive, highly desirable interprations - budget in price but invaluable for the insights they bringt so animatedly and poignantly into Rachmaninov's world.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Orchestra Hall, Detroit, USA (2012-10-19_2012-10-21&2012-).



Reviews

Very nice renditions of these important works
I am a life long admirer of the work of Leonard Slatkin His reputation as an orchestra builder and a champion of American music goes back fifty years (incredibly) What I have admired most about his work is his rapport with orchestral musicians and his passion for developing the status of symphony orchestras in cities outside the "big five" (or the top ten; whatever it is these days) Look at his well known and highly successful tenure with St Louis and look at the attention that he brought to Washington and, now, Detroit (and in a bit consultancy role to Nashville) especially through the power of recordings. This is the latest in his cycle of Rachmaninov Symphonies and orchestral works with Detroit that - in some ways - echoes the series he did in St Louis many years ago. The Symphony #1 is considered ebullient and just a bit "youthful" in the Rachmaninov oeuvre; being completed after his death and with its references to Paganini and the "Dies Irae" and so forth. It is, none the less, a very compelling work and the Detroit plays it with conviction. I am especially impressed with the warmth of their string sound and the acoustics of the Fisher Music Center. The sound quality here is really nice. For me, the real treat on this album is, however, the tone poem, The Isle of the Dead. While not a complete stranger in the Rachmaninov output, this moody and atmospheric masterpiece does not get played as often as it should. The work was inspired, essentially, by a painting by Swiss artist Arnold Boecklin of the journey down the River Styx to the title destination, the product of Greek mythology and of the early society's first interpretations of the afterlife. This too has ample bits of "Dies Irae" running through it and the writing swirls and rises chromatically with a constant sense of the dark. I think this is one of Rachmaninov's finer works and Slatkin and Detroit play it wonderfully. There are plenty of recordings of both the Symphony #1 and even the Isle of the Dead to choose from but it would be quite incorrect to overlook this one. I am a big fan of Slatkin's old St. Louis versions of these pieces and these compare very favorably. Sonically, they are better (and newer, of course) Naxos continues to do a great job recording orchestras and even works that are just outside the "mainstream" I think anything conducted by Leonard Slatkin is well worth your attention, including his whole Detroit-Rachmaninov cycle. Highly recommended!
Submitted on 11/04/13 by Dan Coombs 
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Works Details

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : The Isle of the Dead, symphonic poem, Op. 29
  • Conductor: Leonard Slatkin
  • Ensemble: Detroit Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Orchestra Hall, Detroit, USA (10/19/2012-10/21/2012)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1909

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Symphony no 1 in D minor, Op. 13 (lost; reconstructed from piano duets and orch. fragments)
  • Conductor: Leonard Slatkin
  • Notes: Orchestra Hall, Detroit, USA (11/09/2012-11/11/2012)
  • Running Time: 44 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1895