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Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, July 2015

One of the longstanding criticisms lodged against Rachmaninoff’s First Symphony is that it’s too beholden to Tchaikovsky. Kitajenko, I think, would disagree. This is a thrilling, dynamic, dramatic performance of the work that is sure to sway opinions in favor of this once maligned score.

The Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra, under Kitajenko, is in top form, easily distinguishing itself among the first rank of Germany’s second-tier ensembles. Strongly recommended. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Steven Kruger
Fanfare, May 2015

This is a powerful experience. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Lawrence Hansen
American Record Guide, May 2015

The Gürzenich Orchestra plays responsively, with a rich tone that rivals Previn’s London Symphony and Ashkenazy’s Concertgebouw Orchestra. …this production benefits greatly from spectacular recorded sound that certainly imparts a full, burnished tone to the orchestra—just what’s needed. Bass is strong and firm but not overbearing, and the overall sound field is spacious and reverberant. © 2015 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Nick Barnard
MusicWeb International, February 2015

Kitajenko’s approach [to the Symphony] is probably best characterised as Epic/Heroic. He does not shirk opportunities to drive the music forward but just at moments where lingering might seem counter-productive he is willing to slow right down to near stasis. The fact that this works at all is due to the superb control and poise of his German players and the excellence of the Oehms recording which is the perfect balance of rich and detailed.

…The Rock receives by some measure the most impressive performance of it I have heard. Kitajenko brings exactly the same virtues of weight, superbly flexible and responsive playing from the Gürzenich-Orchester, and a sense of epic drama. It is fascinating to see, even in his first published orchestral work, how carefully Rachmaninov manipulates the pacing of the work and how expertly Kitajenko handles these potentially fussy tinkerings with the basic pulse to create the sense of a fluid continuum. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review, January 2015

The [first] symphony is somewhat cruder than Rachmaninoff’s two later ones, but it does not deserve its comparative neglect: it shares the other symphonies’ power and passion as well as their orchestral sound. The Gürzenich-Orchester Köln under Dmitrij Kitajenko pulls out all the stops. The result of Kitajenko’s care and intensity is a performance that shows the composer’s developing musical personality…Kitajenko recently completed an excellent Tchaikovsky symphonic cycle and now seems poised to do an equally fine job with the Rachmaninoff symphonies and other orchestral works. © 2015 Read complete review

Jean-Yves Duperron
Classical Music Sentinel, January 2015

From the opening note on [of the First Symphony], Kitajenko sets the tone for what is to be an intensely Russian account.

If you’ve never heard this captivating symphony, I can’t help but highly recommend you listen to this new recording. © 2015 Classical Music Sentinel Read complete review

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