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  Telarc -
  Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2 - Paavo Järvi
  Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2 in E minor Op. 27, Dances from "Aleko", Scherzo

Cincinnati Symphony
Paavo Järvi (Jarvi) (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 2

Review by Norm February 10, 2007 (13 of 14 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Wow! This is the kind of disc that justifies your purchase of a multichannel system. So many regular CD versions of this piece wind up with a sonic murk of sound due to the rich orchestration. With this version by Jarvi, transparency is the word, and you hear a wealth of detail lost in competing versions. Yet the richness of the bottom register, so important to underpinning Rachmaninov's works is also readily apparent. So this is by no means "Boulez" clinical or cold.

In addition, Jarvi shapes the playing, as it should be in this one of the most "romantic" of symphonies. The ebb and flow of lines is truly wonderful. My standard version in the past was Ashkenazy with the Concertgebouw (regular CD, not SA-CD) which is a very good performance in a renowned hall. But this new version beats it both in quality of performance and concept as well as richness and transparency of sound. The disc is true 5.1 so there's use of the subwoofer if you have one and that adds especially in a work like this. The back channels are used discretly for hall sound so it comes out natural as if you were there. There is also a wide dynamic range, and Jarvi isn't afraid of letting the sound slowly diminish away. The strings in a couple of movements seem almost to float out of the silence that almost makes you hold your breath at the wonderful playing.

The two filler pieces, Scherzo, and Dances from Aleko are bonuses and not often heard.

I'd truly love to hear more works by Rachmaninov played by this team.


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Review by DSD April 21, 2007 (5 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Paavo Jarvi finally let me down his Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2 is a big disappointment.

Paavo plays it too slow and he misses or under stresses some very important accents though out Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. Plus Michael Bishop let me down as well as the sound texture is too thick, the high frequencies are muffled and the string tone is almost digital sounding. Doesn’t sound anything like a Telarc recording at all! I looked to see if it was recorded at a different location and it is not, it is recorded in Music Hall in Cincinnati. So what gives? This is by far the worst recording of Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony I have ever heard!

I am sad and disappointed and hope this was just an off day for both Paavo and Michael!

On the other hand the fillers: the Scherzo and two dances from “Aleko” sound excellent, extremely clear and no trace of a digital signature and Paavo plays the hell out of these. They are fun and exciting, this is the Paavo I know and love. I am keeping this SACD for the 15 minutes of rare filler after the symphony and as a monument that even gods can let you down.

Symphony No. 2
Performance: 1 Star / Stereo sonics: 3 Stars

Performance: 5 Stars / Stereo sonics: 5 Stars

Two dances from Aleko
Performance: 5 Stars / Stereo sonics: 5 Stars

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Works: 3  

Sergei Rachmaninov - Aleko
Sergei Rachmaninov - Scherzo in D minor
Sergei Rachmaninov - Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27