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CHAN 10475
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CHAN 10475

Rachmaninoff: The Isle of the Dead/ Youth Symphony/Symphony No. 1

The Classical Shop
release date: June 2008

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2007


BBC Philharmonic

Gianandrea Noseda


Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester


Brian Pidgeon

Mike George


Stephen Rinker

Michael Smith


Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 74:02
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The Isle of the Dead, Op. 29 (1909)

  Symphonic Poem on the Painting by Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901)  
  Herrn Nicolas von Struve freundschaftlich gewidmet  
  Lento - Un poco più vivo - Un poco più mosso - Tranquillo -  

Symphony ('Youth Symphony') (1891)

  in D minor - in d-Moll - en ré mineur  
  Edited by Paul Lamm  
  Grave - Allegro molto - Allegretto - Allegro moderato -  

Symphony No. 1, Op. 13 (1895)

  in D minor - in d-Moll - en ré mineur  
3 I Grave - Allegro ma non troppo - Più vivo - Moderato - 12:32
4 II Allegro animato - Meno mosso - Tempo I 9:00
5 III Larghetto - Più mosso - Largo un poco - Con moto - Tempo I 9:34
6 IV Allegro con fuoco - Marciale (sempre marcato) - Moto primo - 12:17
The first Rachmaninoff recording by Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic, Francesca da Rimini (CHAN 10422), received the accolade of ‘Classical CD of the Week’ from The Daily Telegraph and elicited the comment, ‘Noseda sculpts the brooding passions of Rachmaninoff’s dramatic score with thrilling intensity’, from The Times. They return with three highly charged orchestral works.

Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic have just returned from a successful tour of the Far East Orchestra and conductor will perform this work at the BBC Proms in summer 2008 and at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall in November.

Noseda writes of his journey with Symphony No. 1: ‘Having conducted several times the Rachmaninoff second and third symphonies, I’ve been wondering continuously why the first of his symphonies has been neglected or considered not as good as its later sisters. In the last couple of years the level of my curiosity has increased so much that I’ve taken seriously the task of studying, learning and finally performing Rachmaninoff’s first symphony. The result astonished me greatly: the symphony has such a beauty in the melodic line, the harmony is so refined, the structure is well controlled and yet everything seems naturally fluent.’

Regarded as one of the most remarkable composers of the twentieth century, Serge Rachmaninoff wrote three romantically inclined symphonies, two of which are now standard orchestral repertoire. However, the premiere of Symphony No. 1 was such a disaster that Rachmaninoff refrained from composing anything more for the next three years. The conductor, Glazunov, is reputed to have been drunk, and Rachmaninoff was unable to attend the entire performance. He reacted by tearing up the score. Thankfully for posterity, the instrumental parts were preserved and rediscovered in 1945, permitting the work to be restored. It is a work full of youthful fervour, distinctive and sweeping themes, and nationalist sentiments, and is now widely regarded as a vivid example of his early talent. It is complemented here by the ‘Youth Symphony’, the first movement of a projected but never completed symphony in D minor, composed when Rachmaninoff was only seventeen, and the great symphonic poem The Isle of the Dead, inspired by Arnold Böcklin’s painting of the same name which Rachmaninoff had seen on display in Paris in 1907. Composed in 1909, it is still a relatively early work, but contains some of the dark Russian spiritual qualities which Rachmaninoff was to develop further in his later compositions.

Gianadnrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic have the work’s measure and their performance has a full-blooded intensity and fire. Tempos are well judged and orchestral textures well blended. Noseda balances a strong sense of the piece’s architecture with its expressive eloquence and rich nostalgia it is a reading that can rank alongside the classic Ormandy and Pletnev accounts, both of whom bring a special authority to the Symphony.
BBC Music Magazine

Chandos’s superbly weighty yet detailed sound registers every tiny inflection of this mesmerising score, from the insinuating brooding opening to the work’s terrifying climax as Charon, the ferryman of the dead from Greek mythology, delivers the latest body to its final resting place. Once heard, this awesome work will haunt your memory for days.
Classic FM Magazine

[It] receivers a landmark performance from the BBC Philharmonic and Gianandrea Noseda… Noseda demonstrates the music’s power, eloquent beauty and structural cohesion.
The Telegraph

Listening to this exhilarating performance – now a repertory piece, though still rarely programmed in concert – it is hard to fathom its initial lack of success. Chandos’s brilliant recording enhances a performance that takes us on an emotional rollercoaster ride: the passion and despair of the composer’s unrequited love for a married women is drawn with febrile drama here.
Sunday Times

This outstanding performance is well complemented by Rachmaninov’s unfinished ‘youth’ Symphony, written when he was only 17,and the ‘Isle of the Dead’, a dark musical response to the gloomy painting of Arnold Bocklin.
The Observer

Yet even this splendid reading [Isle of the Dead] along with the hard-to-find Youth Symphony must be deemed icing on the cake set beside Noseda’s white-hot account of Rachmaninoff’s still sorely underrated D minor – a wonderful piece, wondrously set forth by the BBC players. If this is no one-off, it will be good to hear what Noseda does with the Second Symphony.
American Record Guide

Noseda’s notable Rachmaninov cycle with the BBC Philharmonic starts to arrive on CD. Nothing could be more liquid or gloomy that his reading of the superb poem The Isle of the Dead. His gifts for mood-juggling and structural flow ensure equally fine accounts of the student Youth Symphony and the composer’s official stormy Symphony No. 1. The full Chandos sound makes everything glow in the dark, especially the shadowy scherzo.
The Times

Gianandrea Noseda’s performance of the First Symphony projects an unstuffy demeanour and trim athleticism to remind the listener that Rachmaninov was still a young man of 21 when he embarked upon it. Unlike some of his bigger-name colleagues, Noseda eschews sensation for its own sake and gratuitous point-making. Emotions are always under control (the slow movement’s hesitant love song radiates sweet innocence), and he secures a conspicuously well coordinated response from his Manchester band.

This [the Symphony] is beautifully done… However, the masterpiece on the disc is of course Isle of the Dead. Aided by a recording of excellent range and depth, Noseda gives a strong and colourful performance.
International Record Review

D Glyn-Jones

S Pearson