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Philharmonia Orchestra/Svetlanov: Rachmaninov Symphony No 2 (ICA Classics)

Philharmonia Orchestra/Svetlanov

Rachmaninov Symphony No 2

(ICA Classics)

I'm always banging on about the great Philharmonia Orchestra, my favourite London band. They've recently been in Scotland, playing at the Edinburgh International Festival. They're coming back later this month with principal conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen to play concerts in Aberdeen and Perth. And here, in a real slice of history, they feature on a first-time CD release of the 1993 recording of Rachmaninov's Second Symphony with Russian conductor Evgeny Svetlanov. He is unbelievably spacious with the symphony, which has enormous and profound depth, while the sumptuous Philharmonia playing is just out of this world. It is a truly magical thing of great beauty. The CD is topped out with Svetlanov's racy account of Bernstein's Candide Overture (never issued before) recorded live at the 1978 Edinburgh Festival and featuring the precision-tooled playing of the London Symphony Orchestra. But the luxurious playing of the Rachmaninov, in a high quality recording by the BBC, makes this a must for devotees of the piece.

Michael Tumelty

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