I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman


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Rachmaninoff by Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (part 2)

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Dances from “Aleko”, Symphony #2, Op. 27
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko
EMI 915473-2 73:05 DDD

Vasily Petrenko

Rachmaninoff Symphony #2 by Vasily Petrenko

For the second installment of their Rachmaninoff symphonies cycle for EMI, Vasily Petrenko and his Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra cover the most popular and significant of the corpus, the Second Symphony in E minor. If anything, this release is a ready reminder of how difficult this work is by its length, complex thematic material and emotional content. Yet today’s major labels confidently invest in less than foremost ensembles to fulfill the task. And why wouldn’t they? The hype is doing the rest. Reviewers already promoted the Liverpool forces to convincing interpreters of the Russian Romantic repertory. Sure they are. Bizarre then that by comparison the Rachmaninoff from old-school Russian maestros sounds like coming from a different solar system. With Petrenko/Liverpool there is very little of the dramatic grip and even less of the soulful lyricism and sometimes savage epic imagery that a Evgeny Svetlanov or a Kirill Kondrashin conjured with Rachmaninoff’s symphonic work.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Rachmaninoff by Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (part 1)

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Caprice Bohémien, Op. 12
Vocalise, Op. 34 #14
Symphony #3, Op. 44

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko
EMI 679019-2 DDD

Vasily Petrenko

Rachmaninoff Symphony #3 by Vasily Petrenko

Vasily Petrenko and his Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra continue their cycle of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s orchestral works and concertos. Started on the Avie label (with the Isle of the Dead, the Symphonic Dances and the piano concertos featuring Simon Trpceski as soloist Avie AV2191 & AV2192), this new CD focuses on the 3rd Symphony and marks Petrenko’s debut on EMI Classics. Interestingly, the EMI disc was (partly) recorded at the same time – September 2009 – in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and produced by the same team as the older Avie CD already released in 2010. The transfer from an obscure to a more prestigious label reflects the success story of the award-winning young Russian conductor in another way. While one may still have to look for Vasily Petrenko’s name on the Avie CD cover, EMI generously gives him equal billing with Rachmaninoff.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in Paris

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Overture “The Wasps”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto #23, K. 488
Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony, Op. 58

Hélène Grimaud, piano
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko
Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris, 26 March 2011

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under their chief conductor Vasily Petrenko appeared in Paris for a single concert that, according to the program notes, aimed to contrast classical harmony with the often unbridled expressivity of romantic music. Although the works chosen (Mozart’s Concerto for piano #23 and Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony) are indeed foremost representatives of each genre, in practice the differences turned out to be less pronounced as was intended.
Read the full review on Classical Net