Gianandrea Noseda / BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3; Prince Rostislav; Caprice Bohémien

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Gianandrea Noseda's 2011 release of Sergey Rachmaninov's Symphony No. 3 in A minor also includes two early orchestral pieces that are seldom heard, the Caprice bohémien and the symphonic poem Prince Rostislav. As early works, they are curiosities, though they are not as accomplished as Rachmaninov's later works, and their rather dark colors, somber moods, and lack of memorable themes make them somewhat hard to like. Possibly to draw some attention to them, they were programmed to come before the Third, but they would have been better placed afterwards as undistinguished filler, for they are distractions from the main performance, and they may even dull listeners' appetite for the superior work. Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic put their best efforts into the Third, which shows Rachmaninov's richest orchestration and most sophisticated handling of symphonic form. In terms of sound, this performance really jumps to the fore with its vivid sonorities and exceptional reproduction, and the brilliant playing holds one's attention throughout. This is the work listeners should play first, for the rewards are immediate, and the Caprice bohémien and Prince Rostislav can be taken or left without qualms.

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