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Rachmaninoff: The Isle of the Dead, Symphonic Dances - Jurowski

Rachmaninoff: The Isle of the Dead, Symphonic Dances - Jurowski

LPO  LPO0004

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Rachmaninoff: The Isle of the Dead Op. 29, Symphonic Dances Op. 45

London Philharmonic Orchestra
Vladimir Jurowski (conductor)

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Recording producers: Tim Oldham (The Isle of the Dead), Tony Harrison (Symphonic Dances)
Recording engineer: Limo Hearn
Mastering engineer: Mike Hatch
The Isle of the Dead recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall on 8 December 2004, and Symphonic Dances recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall on 29 October 2003
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Review by John Broggio - June 3, 2007

This is a quite stunning disc - that should not be a musical surprise from Jurowski's other musical exploits: Tchaikovsky: Suite No. 3, Stravinsky: Divertimento - Jurowski and Shostakovich: Symphonies 1 & 6 - Jurowski. What is a surprise though is how marvellous the playing that the LPO deliver from single concert performances (unusual when most "live" discs are an amalgam of 2 or more evenings).

The Isle of the Dead is given a more lugubrious performance than on Rachmaninoff: Symphonies 1-3 - de Waart and easily sustains the extra 2-3 minutes here (the timing on the booklet and cover of my copy is dramatically wrong; the performance lasts nearly 23 minutes, not the 14 claimed!). The dark mood is hypnotic with the brilliance of the brighter moments all the more contrasted as a result. The Symphonic Dances are just as good and are more musically daring than in either Rachmaninoff: Symphonies 1-3 - de Waart or Stravinsky: Petrouchka, Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances - Jansons, largely because of the wholehearted commitment that the LPO give their future (at the time of recording) music director. Unlike the RCO performance, the tam-tam has time to die away before the audience rightfully acclaim what they have just heard. This is easily my favourite Rachmaninov disc on SACD and I have difficulty not playing this now that I have acquired it!

The sound is a very accurate reflection of the (now "old") Royal Festival Hall - clear but dry. The acoustic was never as drought-ridden as the Barbican in my mind but this is now not possible to confirm in the flesh as both have undergone substantial acoustic modification. Despite the relative dryness compared to the Dutch recordings, the richness of the scoring is evident and the audiences are remarkably well behaved (there is the occasional cough but nothing really off-putting). I hope that in the (apparently) much improved acoustic of the "new" RFH that Jurowski and the LPO make many more discs like this one for SACD.

Highly recommended.

(Purchased)

Copyright © 2007 John Broggio and HRAudio.net

Performance:

Sonics (Multichannel):

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