Andrew Litton / Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2; Liadov: The Enchanted Lake

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For this 2015 BIS audio showcase, Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra present the beloved Symphony No. 2 in E minor of Sergey Rachmaninov, backed by the evocative tone poem The Enchanted Lake by Anatoly Liadov. The results are extraordinary, both in the committed performances and the vibrant audiophile sound, and anyone coming to Rachmaninov or Liadov for the first time is in for a treat. From the opening of the Symphony No. 2, the deep and vibrant multichannel surround sound compels listening, and from there, Litton's expansive interpretation and the orchestra's passionate playing make the music utterly spellbinding. The depth of the ensemble and the richness of its tone colors make this performance a standout among the many recordings of the symphony that are available, and the hybrid SACD format makes the stereo playback seem almost as good as it would be on a high-end system. Because BIS' reproduction is so wonderful, the Liadov piece is much more than a study in gossamer orchestral effects, and the myriad details that can be heard in this performance show how ingenious Liadov was as an orchestrator, if not especially profound as a composer.

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