, August 2012
Here we have the original, very substantial first version of Anton Rubinstein’s Second Symphony, a work whose programmatic intent is to convey the triumph of the human spirit over the raw, nearly unconquerable energy of the sea. That energy is portrayed in the seething, darkly dramatic first movement, where the sea seems to have the upper hand.
The second movement, a contemplative Adagio non tanto, bears an epigraph from Rubinstein: “deep is the sea, deep is the human soul, with feelings like waves.” It introduces the human element for the first time and seems to represent the inner life of humankind placed against the constant, impersonal momentum of ocean waves.
The performances by the State Symphony Orchestra of Russia under Igor Golovchin aren’t the last word in refinement, but there’s a special energy to the playing (including a healthy Russian blare to the contributions from the brass) that commend this CD over rival versions…if you’re not familiar with Rubinstein’s music, here is an excellent place to start an acquaintanceship. © 2012 Audiophile Audition Read complete review