Various Artists

Trésors de Russie

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Harmonia Mundi's 2012 compilation Trésors de Russie brings together three previously released albums that offer major works of the Russian canon. The first disc features recordings from 1987 by pianist Brigitte Engerer, presenting Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Night on Bald Mountain in compelling performances that are full of energy and color. Jumping ahead by almost two decades, the second disc is a reissue of Daniele Gatti's 2006 release of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 in B minor, "Pathétique," and the Serenade for strings in C major, in efficient, clearheaded, and surprisingly unsentimental readings by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. A reprise of the 2005 album of Sergey Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil occupies the third disc, and the Vespers and Matins are performed with great solemnity and depth of feeling by Paul Hillier and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. While all the recordings are digital and have the high-quality reproduction Harmonia Mundi is noted for, the Gatti and Hillier performances are served up in the SACD format, with exceptionally rich and spacious DSD sound. Yet as much as these later recordings make the Engerer CD sound a bit thin by comparison, its early digital recording is perfectly clear and vibrant, and comparable to the finest recordings of the time.

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