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Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 3; Balakirev: Russia / London SO, Gergiev

Album Summary

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Symphony no 3 in A minor, Op. 44
>Balakirev, Mily : Overture on Russian Themes no 2 "Russia"
Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Following his acclaimed LSO Live recordings of Rachmaninov's Symphony No 2 and Symphonic Dances, Valery Gergiev conducts a scintillating performance of the powerfully emotional Symphony No 3, framed with a work by one of the Mighty Five; Balakirev's Russia. Rachmaninov's third and final symphony was composed nearly 20 years after the composer's emigration from his homeland. Often considered to be his most overtly Russian symphony, Rachmaninov makes subtle use of a motto theme which appears throughout the work and can be heard in the finale as a variant of the Dies Irae plainchant - a melodic tag used in Rachmaninov's music as a dark reminder of mortality. Russia, the epic symphonic poem, is a reworking of an Overture on Russian Themes, collected during Balakirev's expedition up through the Volga. It was composed in 1864 and is based on three folksongs - a slow wedding song and two round-dances which are varied, fragmented and combined throughout the piece.

Sunday Times, 9th August 2015
The band is on its best form, the playing imbued with affection and nostalgia as well as verve and drive.

Gramophone Magazine, September 2015
Gergiev's view is dark and stormy, his relatively slow pacing undercut by so many lugubrious inflections that the piece loses its overall shape.

BBC Music Magazine, December 2015
Gergiev and the LSO capture the score's expressive beauty, and also the sense of its transience as chill winter encroaches.

American Record Guide, May/June 2016
Gergiev is alert and attentive here. This is especially important in the Rachmaninoff. The good news is that Gergiev has it well in hand. He doesn't really break new ground. It is a solid, cogent interpretation that deserves to stand with the London Symphony/Previn (EMI) and Concertgebouw/ Ashkenazy (Decca). The SACD-hybrid recorded sound is also very good. It does edge out the standard CD sonics of the Detroit Symphony/Slatkin on Naxos(Sept/Oct 2013). Slatkin gives an interpretation not much different from his classic Vox recording of the early 1980s. Gergiev has a balance of lyricism and forcefulness on par with Vox Slatkin,. Balakirev's tone poem has been recorded several times. It is a well-crafted, enjoyable 13-minute work. In the previous sentence, I was going to say it's also tuneful. Balakirev did base his main thematic material on three Volga region folk tunes. Still it's good to hear a work by the man who worked so hard to encourage his contemporaries in their compositions. It's also good to finally have a recording in state-of-the-art sound with a top-notch orchestra and the leading Russian conductor of our day. It is "definitive" recording of Balakirev's Russia.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Barbican, London (11/11/2014/11/13/2014).



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Works Details

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Symphony no 3 in A minor, Op. 44
  • Conductor: Valery Gergiev
  • Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Barbican, London (11/11/2014/11/13/2014)
  • Running Time: 42 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1935-1936
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Balakirev, Mily : Overture on Russian Themes no 2 "Russia"
  • Conductor: Valery Gergiev
  • Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Barbican, London (11/11/2014/11/13/2014)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1884
  • Studio/Live: Live