When it was issued in 1998, this tremendous recording of Rachmaninov's First Symphony by Mariss Jansons and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic was easily the best in decades. It was fiery and passionate, baleful and harsh, loving and vengeful. It was superlatively played by the best Russian orchestra, superbly recorded by EMI, and appropriately coupled with Rachmaninov's monumentally morbid The Isle of the Dead. Seven years later, this stupendous recording was reissued at a reduced price with the same performance, the same playing, the same sound, and the same coupling. Since 1998, no recording had been released that could better Jansons'. Even Zoltán Kocsis' strong and subtle performance of the First with the Hungarian National Philharmonic cannot exceed Jansons' for audacity and savagery. For Rachmaninov at his youthful best, this recording has not been surpassed. For listeners who don't know the young Rachmaninov, this recording will be a revelation.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Op. 13 (lost; reconstructed from piano duets and orch. fragments)|