BIS present two works composed by Sergei Rachmaninov, featuring virtuoso pianist Yevgeny Sudbin alongside the Singapore Symphony Orchestra under Lan Shui. Rachmaninov composed Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini after a seven-year silence, and consists of 24 variations taken from Paganini’s 24th Caprice for solo violin. The Rhapsody was soon followed by his Third Symphony. Its themes have a marked Russian character used with great subtlety.
Award-winning conductor Vasily Petrenko’s exceptional abilities as a renowned, inspiring conductor with major media appeal set him apart from the majority of his contemporaries. He is the youngest ever Principal (now Chief) Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and will add the role of Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic beginning with the 2013/2014 season. His commitment to musical education has led him to act as Principal Conductor or the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and to be a founding member of the board of the UK’s "Building on Excellence: Orchestras for the 21st Century” scheme, which endeavours to increase the participation in classical and cultural events amongst British youth.
Symphony No.1 in D minor, Op.13 is significant in the creative biography of S. Rachmaninov. The special traits of the musical language typical of the composer are vividly revealed in the symphony. "Vocalise", Op.34 No.14 - is one of Rachmaninov's most popular works. It was written in 1915 and dedicated to an outstanding Russian singer, A. Nezhdanova. Artistic perfection, extraordinary plasticity and beauty of a melancholic melody, and lucidity rate the work among the best samples of the world's vocal literature.
EMI's two-disc set Rachmaninov: Orchestral Works offers listeners a solid foundation of the Russian composer's symphonic literature. As with many collections that call upon existing recordings to combine into one anthology, performance quality varies.
Andre Previn’s name has become synonymous with the work. In this, his latest version, the interpretation is more daringly expansive and slower to evolve than ever before - he takes nearly eight minutes longer than the more urgent Ashkenazy on Decca - but ultimately the conviction of the performance wins through. The playing is a delight -sample the clarinet solo in the long adagio, surely one of the loveliest tunes ever written, critics notwithstanding! With a generous ambience, natural balance, and 'bloom' so characteristic of Telarc productions, the recording perfectly complements the performance.
Peter Herring, Classical Music on Compact Disc
The second installment in Sakari Oramo's superb hybrid SACD cycle of the symphonies of Carl Nielsen on BIS presents the Symphony No. 1 in G minor and the Symphony No. 3, "Sinfonia espansiva," two ruggedly independent works that reflect the composer's late Romantic style yet point to the modernism to come. While the Symphony No. 1 was influenced by Brahms and offers a rich harmonic language, propulsive rhythms, and a fairly homogenous orchestral palette, the Symphony No. 3 is striking for its reliance on unfolding counterpoint and long-breathed lines, and most notable for the use of wordless parts for soprano and baritone voices in the pastoral slow movement. These performances by Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra are exceptional for their stunning power and spacious feeling, though the crisp details and focused sound quality will be the biggest draw for audiophiles.
The 1st & final movements of Brahms’s 3rd Symphony contain some of the most dramatic music he was to compose, yet both end serenely & enclose 2 beautiful inner movements. The equally exquisite Serenade No 2, unusually scored for wind instruments, violas, cellos & double basses, was 1 of his own personal favourites & both receive superb performances under Bernard Haitink in the 3rd part of his internationally acclaimed LSO Live Brahms cycle.