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Sergei Rachmaninov

Audio Samples

>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Festive Overture, Op. 96
>Glazunov, Alexander : Chant du menestrel for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 71
>Rachmaninov, Sergei : The Bells, choral symphony for soprano, tenor, baritone, chorus & orchestra, Op. 35
>Mussorgsky, Modest : Khovanschina
>     Act 4. Entr'acte
>Rachmaninov, Sergei : Songs (14), Op. 34

Album Summary

>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Festive Overture, Op. 96
>Glazunov, Alexander : Chant du menestrel for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 71
>Rachmaninov, Sergei : The Bells, choral symphony for soprano, tenor, baritone, chorus & orchestra, Op. 35
>Mussorgsky, Modest : Khovanschina
>Rachmaninov, Sergei : Songs (14), Op. 34
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Composers

Notes & Reviews:

"Recorded live at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in April, 2010 (the last concert of the First International Rostropovich Festival) the major work here is, of course, The Bells. This is one of Rachmaninov's finest large compositions, perhaps his greatest. It is, as most of his admirers know, a choral symphony of considerable depth, a work based on Balmont's translation of the famous Edgar Allan Poe poem of the same title. In the opening movement Serebrier draws a spirited, quite detailed performance from the orchestra and chorus in the outer sections and does not shortchange the darker moments in the middle section. Tenor Andrei Popov turns in a fine effort here as well.

In the second movement Serebrier catches the heart of this lovely music, though soprano Lyubov Petrova seems to struggle a bit and her vibrato veers close to a wobble in places, not an unusual trait for a Russian soprano, it must be noted. Still, this and the ensuing Scherzo, with its diabolical and hysterical music, come through quite convincingly. The closing Lento lugubre is icy cold, as it should be, and Serebrier delivers a truly powerful reading of this movement. Sergei Leiferkus is excellent here, too. I must say that this final movement conveys the sense of death and mourning about as effectively as any piece of music, even the Mahler Ninth Symphony Adagio, which Rachmaninoff seems to move close to in spirit here. Anyway, this is a fine performance of The Bells, perhaps on the same level as the early-stereo Kondrashin on Melodiya, a benchmark of sorts in this work. Pletnev on DG also offers a compelling performance.

The fillers surrounding this work (The Bells comes on track 3) are all performed well. The Shostakovich Festive Overture is a brief light work that pops up quite often on concerts and recordings these days. Serebrier delivers a spirited, colorful reading. Glazunov's Chant du ménestrel draws fine playing from cellist Wen-Sinn Yang in this understated late-Romantic work of less than five minutes duration.

The two arrangements that close out the disc are, alongside each other, horses of a different color. The Stokowski-arranged Khovanshchina Entr'acte is dark and full of angst, whereas the Rachmaninoff Vocalise is lovely and brimming with romantic yearning. I like the Stokowski arrangement, and while Serebrier, who is a composer of some note in his own right, fashions a lovely rendition of the famous Rachmaninoff wordless song, his scoring - mainly for strings, with English horn, oboe and flute - is less compelling in its somewhat grayish colors.

The sound on the disc is vivid and quite full, despite its live origins. All in all, this disc, truly a mixed bag of repertory, is a worthwhile offering. Recommended. "-classical.net

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory (04/02/2010).



Reviews

"The Bells" Resonates!
One of the best of modern ensembles, the Russian National Orchestra, under the baton of the Uruguayan-born conductor José Serebrier, delivers an exemplary concert performance of Rachmaninov's lively Choral Symphony Op.35, "The Bells" with the Moscow State Chamber choir. Also on the program are works by Glazunov, Shostakovich and Mussorgsky, as well as more Rachmaninov. The proceedings are captured in a sparkling, vivid live recording made at the closing concert of the 1st Rostropovich International Festival in the Tchaikovsky Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire of Music. The soloists--Lyubov Petrova (soprano), Andrei Popov (tenor), Sergei Leiferkus (baritone) & Wen-Sinn Yang (cello)--are all outstanding, each bringing immediacy and personality to their individual performances. I was stirred by the rousing version of Shostakovich's Festive Overture, Op. 96, and charmed by the cello solo in the lovely rendition of Rachmaninov's classic "Vocalise". This is a concert album of uncommon beauty and finesse, and highly recommended.
Submitted on 10/12/10 by Mary Capps 
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Works Details

>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Festive Overture, Op. 96
  • Conductor: José Serebrier
  • Notes: Composition written: 1954.
  • Running Time: 6 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1954

>Glazunov, Alexander : Chant du ménestrel for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 71
  • Performer: Wen-Sinn Yang (Cello)
  • Conductor: José Serebrier
  • Running Time: 4 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1900

>Rachmaninov, Sergei : The Bells, choral symphony for soprano, tenor, baritone, chorus & orchestra, Op. 35
  • Performers: Sergei Leiferkus; Lyubov Petrova (Soprano)
  • Conductor: José Serebrier
  • Notes: Composition written: 1913.
  • Running Time: 36 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1913

>Mussorgsky, Modest : Khovanschina :: Act 4. Entr'acte
  • Conductor: José Serebrier
  • Running Time: 4 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1872-1880

>Rachmaninov, Sergei : Songs (14), Op. 34
  • Conductor: José Serebrier
  • Running Time: 6 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic