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Sunday, October 25, 2015
Rachmaninov Orchestral Works
Spontaneous and forward-driving, Mark Pullingers finds himself carried along by the taut energy of this new recording by Paavo Järvi and the Orchestre de Paris.
Sergei Rachmaninov’s last two works make an attractive pairing on this offering from Paavo Järvi and the Orchestre de Paris. Both were composed in exile, the Third Symphony full of longing for his Russian homeland, while the Symphonic Dances are a summation of Rachmaninov’s compositional career and, like Shostakovich’s final symphony, are full of enigmatic self-quotation.
In the symphony, Järvi is in less expansive form than Valery Gergiev’s recent LSO Live issue, driving his Paris orchestra on tautly. Recorded in concert in the Salle Pleyel, the Parisian strings sound satisfyingly sumptuous. The fugue that interrupts the finale dances lightly and only the final (unwritten) rallentando (pulling back) slightly jars.
An impulsive performance of the Symphonic Dances follows, highlighting the terrific Paris woodwind section, growling contrabassoon and slinky sax to the fore. Halting hesitations give the second movement waltz sinister overtones, while full demonic force is unleashed – Dies Irae motif and all – in a finale where you can smell the whiff of sulphur.
Both works could just squeeze onto a single disc, but this stylish twofer is padded out with youthful works Caprice bohemian and The Rock, inspired by a line in a Chekhov short story, along with the lyrical Vocalise.
Artists: Paavo Järvi/ Orchestre de Paris
Mark Pullinger writes for International Record Review and is Classical Music and Opera Editor at Bachtrack.com.