Maurice de Abravanel's performances of the late Romantic repertoire may be counted among his most vigorous, brilliant, and sympathetic, and this Silverline CD/DVD presentation of Rachmaninov's Symphony No. 3 in A minor makes the case quite convincingly. Though strangely undated in the liner notes, the performance and Vanguard's quadraphonic recording likely date from the mid-'70s, at the time when Abravanel and the Utah Symphony Orchestra were in their prime for communication, energy, ensemble cohesion, and vibrant color. Their enthusiastic playing is vividly captured in this multichannel remix, and the Symphony No. 3 has rarely sounded this spectacular. The USO has remarkable depth in the improved surround sound environment, and the audio seems to cover the full frequency range without loss of overtones. The pretty but banal Chanson Georgienne is ably sung by soprano Netania Davrath, but it may be dismissed as unimportant filler. In addition to the audio, this package also offers a video tribute to Abravanel, a trove of still photographs, and a behind-the-scenes documentary on the 5.1 multichannel remastering process. But note that these features are duplicated on other Silverline dual-disc reissues of Abravanel's recordings.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44|