Perhaps the best super audio orchestral sound today is coming out of the Concertgebouw Amsterdam where RCO Live is recording performances by Mariss Jansons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra that sound more real than real. The balance, the blend, the depth, the detail, the sense of space and time, the sense of immediacy and honesty all make these recordings among the most successful ever made. The works they've chosen to record so far have all been warhorses -- previous issues have been of Dvorák's Ninth and Strauss' Ein Heldenleben -- but the performances themselves are so superlative and the sound is so stunning that only a curmudgeon would begrudge them. This disc couples two modernist Russian masterpieces -- Stravinsky's Petrushka and Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances -- in performances as finely sculpted, as dazzlingly colored, and as drivingly rhythmic as the finest ever recorded. Jansons, surely one of the best conductors of our time, leads the super-virtuoso Concertgebouw in performances that are as impressive technically as they are interpretively. Everything in Stravinsky and Rachmaninov's scores from the most complex polytonality to the lushest nostalgic sonority is articulated in these performances and captured in these recordings, and anyone fond of either work need not hesitate.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Petrushka, ballet (burlesque) in 4 scenes for orchestra (1947 version)|
|Symphonic Dances, for orchestra (or 2 pianos), Op. 45|