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Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 3 - Feltz

Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 3 - Feltz

Dreyer Gaido  DGCD 21105

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 3

Dortmunder Philharmoniker
Gabriel Feltz (conductor)


For Gabriel Feltz, Sergej Rachmaninoff‘s Third Symphony `communicates, in a very moving way, the life-long struggle of one of Russia‘s greatest musicians with this genre.´ Because of this, it was particularly important for the conductor to show the exuberant power of imagination, the changing moods and the extremely elaborate instrumentation of Rachmaninoff’s work.

 

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Review by Adrian Quanjer - March 6, 2020

After having welcomed the superlative achievement of Gabriel Feltz and his Dortmunder Philharmoniker In Rachmaninoff’s first symphony, I find it difficult to say the same about the third.

Although there is much to admire in terms of enthusiasm and commitment, the overall performance lacks precision. At first, I thought the recording quality was entirely responsible for ‘blurring the picture', but after a series of listening sessions, it didn’t seem to be the only reason. With a plethora of instruments on stage and “the many changes of mood” Rachmaninoff’s third symphony is by no means an easy one to handle. For some, even experienced conductors, a prudent excuse for not putting it on the concert roster. Not so for Feltz. It is one of his most favourite symphonies from an early age on. But without trying to be dismissive, the Dortmund Philharmonic, however well they played in Rachmaninoff one, is not the Pittsburgh Symphony, capable of following all twists and turns into the minute's detail at the wink of an eye.

We must nonetheless recognize that the recording was taken from two live concerts. And however inspirational that may normally work out, there is little opportunity to straighten out things as can be done with a studio recording. Anyway, all is not as bleak as it may seem. Judging by the applause at the end, the audience clearly were overjoyed. And I mustn’t exclude either that my expectations were perhaps a trifle too high. Fact remains that Feltz sets down a respectable reading, aptly motivating his musicians to comply with his endeavour to put this symphony back on the agenda. And rightly so! Notwithstanding the fact that Rachmaninoff was completely ‘out of sync’ with his contemporaries, this late-romantic symphony is, with hindsight, worth anyone’s while.

Comparing with other interpretations of the same symphony, this one does not replace my older, yet more engaging Rachmaninov: 3 Symphonies - de Waart , but then one would have to buy the complete set. As for sound engineering, I’ve heard better.

Blangy-le-Château, Normandy, France

Copyright © 2020 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net

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Comment by hiredfox - March 7, 2020 (1 of 5)

Ah!

Thanks for your review Adrian it has now been removed from my Wishlist. Like you I had thoughts of completing Feltz's survey after your good review of the 1st Symphony and my own listening experience.

Comment by Rick Darby - March 14, 2020 (2 of 5)

Adrian,

Concerning "Judging by the applause at the end, the audience clearly were overjoyed."

The applause at the end means nothing! Have you ever been to a concert where the audience didn't applaud enthusiastically? Even for a so-so performance, some people will give a standing ovation.

I particularly dislike producers who include stretches of applause on the recording. What purpose does it serve? Does it make the listener say, "Oh, wow! They're clapping like bonkers! It must have been a Great Performance!"

Probably you wanted to say something nice to take the sting out of a not very laudatory review. I don't think this is the way to go about it, though.

Comment by Adrian Quanjer - March 15, 2020 (3 of 5)

Some like it some don't. À chacun son goût.

Comment by hiredfox - March 15, 2020 (4 of 5)

As a regular concert goer often listening at home alone the inclusion of applause at the conclusion of a recording adds to the illusion of it being a live event. The nature of the applause can be gauged quite easily, more often than not reflecting one's own reaction to a performance.

Comment by Bruce Zeisel - March 19, 2020 (5 of 5)

Applause - not just the inclusion of applause in a recording - but applause, is strange. I have attended a lot of concerts in which some people really "goose it up" with whistling and howls like "Whoo".

If the audience was small the applause will likely seem tepid but the people applauding are to the limits of their physical ability, expressing heart felt appreciation and enthusiasm.

Applause is strange !