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Gary Lemco
Audiophile Audition, January 2013

With the performance by the Philharmonia Orchestra of London under Evgeny Svetlanov…from Royal Festival Hall…we suddenly find ourselves confronting an epic reading, live, as a British ensemble sheds its native identity and achieves that spectacular “wind sound” in its strings that seems to characterize the very soul of the Russian soil.

The Rachmaninov E Minor…embodies virtually every aspect of the composer’s idiosyncratic nostalgia…A synthesis of Russian chant’s znamenny or “sign” formulas and Wagner’s “unending melody” notions for Tristan, the first and third movements draw themselves out with lush flowing tropes which Svetlanov milks for their expansive architecture. The Adagio seems to take its cue from the slow movement of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto…From the outset, the initial Largo motif that opens the score, Svetlanov accords the music a spaciousness that remains as taut as it does expansive. Michael White supplies the elegant clarinet solo, demanded Adagissimo. The Philharmonia trumpet section makes its presence felt in the glowing, unbuckled Allegro vivace finale, a sweeping yet entirely vocal concept whose colossal scale and heartfelt lyricism provide an enduring impact. The magnificent peroration elicits a wave, a torrent of appreciation from a rapt, nearly apoplectic audience.

The impish swirling interpretation of Bernstein’s Candide Overture, in all its gaudy athleticism, has us equally enthralled at the Edinburgh Festival…with the London Symphony Orchestra. The mocking, flighty cross-rhythms that mark Bernstein’s breezy reaction to Voltaire find a natural exponent in Svetlanov, who took an equally irreverent approach to Kabalevsky’s Colas Breugnon. Once more, the brash and brilliant coda invokes a controlled hysteria from a delighted crowd of music lovers. © 2013 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

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