Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 3 - Feltz
Dreyer Gaido DGCD 21105
Classical - Orchestral
Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 3
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
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