, June 2012
Gergiev is persuasive in the long, brooding first movement, playing the text in full, including the exposition repeat which many conductors eschew…but though Gergiev is suitably expansive he’s not excessively slow and when Rachmaninov requires the music to move on with more urgency Gergiev delivers. He’s helped by having a fine orchestra at his disposal. The strings have weight and body without undue heaviness and can sing out Rachmaninov’s long lines while the cellos and basses provide a firm foundation to the string choir. The woodwind and brass are up to the same standard.
There’s a good deal of punch and dash in Gergiev’s reading of the second movement and the fugal episode (track 2, from 3:17) finds the Kirov on their toes and playing with bite and precision. As in the first movement, the pages in which Rachmaninov indulges himself—and us—in those trademark sweeping, nostalgic melodies find Gergiev ready to encourage his orchestra to play with passion but—and this is crucial—he’s never self-indulgent; the music always has purpose and forward momentum.
The finale surges, full of confidence and ardour.
This one is a most welcome addition and, indeed, must rank highly in the pecking order. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review