Naxos has announced another gem from the VOX catalog.

A treasure from the VOX vault made from the originals, restored, and remastered by Joanna Nickrenz and Marc Aubort, Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 & Vocalise (VOX-NX-3013CD) features the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, led by Leonard Slatkin in a superb performance. 

At its 1897 Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 27 received a disastrous critical and audience reaction; seven years later it garnered tremendous critical and audience praise. Was Rachmaninoff not ready for this opportunity given him or, perhaps, was the Russian public not ready for the harmonically bold, inventively orchestrated, hour-long composition?

Whatever the case Leonard Salkin leads the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra in a performance that captures the Russian exuberance of the music – from the opening Allegro, to the third movement’s melancholy heartbreak, to the giddy finale.

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s composing career spanned fifty years that spread over two centuries. Writing music as a fourteen-year-old in 1887 the composer would have surely come under the influence of Tchaikovsky.  By the time 1940 rolled around he surely must have heard the music of Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Yet there are no major discernible influences one can perceive in this sui generis music.

This recording features the well-known Vocalise, originally composed for soprano with piano accompaniment in a lovely arrangement for orchestra.

Rafael de Acha © 2023

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