Rachmaninov, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev: Orchestral works
Edo de Waart
Label
Decca
Catalogue No.
4828981
Barcode
00028948289813
Format
4-CD
About

A newly compiled, generous, 4CD collection of high-octane Russian orchestral masterpieces, celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the firebrand musicianship of Dutch maestro Edo de Waart.

‘In my profession,’ remarked Edo de Waart in a 1990 interview, ‘you need the affrontery to believe you have an alternative with something to say that isn’t already being said. Without this sort of gall 95 per cent of us should quit.’

His intensely practical and dynamic approach was formed by experience as an orchestral oboist, taught by the principal oboe of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in the days of Willem Mengelberg, nurtured by seeing Eduard van Beinum in action and further encouraged by Bernard Haitink: de Waart has the history of the Concertgebouw running through his veins. ‘I think people regarded me as a second Mengelberg and I was very sure that I wasn’t.’ However, it was as chief of the rival Rotterdam Philharmonic that the conductor made his mark, in a series of recordings for Philips that played to his strengths in Romantic repertoire.

The conductor had earlier confessed to an initial reluctance to engage with the idiom of Rachmaninov. ‘Then I conducted the [Symphonic Dances] in Rotterdam several times and suddenly I became very fond of it. I think his music grows on you as you get rid of the “honey and roses” view of him that you first learn. You must play him as strongly as the Russians used to do.’ In fact, he recorded the Symphonic Dances with the London Philharmonic in 1972 and in the following year he made his debut LP in Rotterdam with a personal, LP-length selection of excerpts from Prokofiev’s ballet, Romeo and Juliet. There followed, in December 1974, the Mussorgsky Pictures and then these powerfully built, authentically volatile accounts of the Rachmaninov symphonies between 1976 and 1978: recordings that made
de Waart’s reputation and still stand up well to the competition today.

TRACK LISTING / ARTISTS

CD 1
SERGEI RACHMANINOV
Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Op. 13
The Rock, Op. 7
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

Caprice Bohémien, Op. 12*
London Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 2
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27
The Isle of the Dead, Op. 29
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 3
Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44

MODEST MUSSORGSKY (orch. MAURICE RAVEL)
Pictures at an Exhibition
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 4
SERGEI RACHMANINOV
Symphonic Dances, Op. 45*
London Philharmonic Orchestra

SERGEI PROKOFIEV
Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

Edo de Waart

 

*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA

Track previews
Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: Dance
Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 27: 4. Allegro vivace
Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 44: 1. Lento - Allegro moderato
Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 44: 2. Adagio ma non troppo
Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 44: 3. Allegro
Pictures at an Exhibition (Orch. by Maurice Ravel): 1. Promenade I
Pictures at an Exhibition (Orch. by Maurice Ravel): 2. Gnomus
Pictures at an Exhibition (Orch. by Maurice Ravel): 3. Promenade II
Pictures at an Exhibition (Orch. by Maurice Ravel): 4. The Old Castle
Pictures at an Exhibition (Orch. by Maurice Ravel): 5. Promenade III
The Isle of the Dead, Op. 29
Pictures at an Exhibition (Orch. by Maurice Ravel): 13. Cum mortuis in lingua mortua
Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 13: 1. Grave - Allegro ma non troppo
Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 13: 2. Allegro animato
Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 13: 3. Larghetto
Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 13: 4. Allegro con fuoco
The Rock, Op. 7
Caprice bohémien, Op. 12
Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 27: 1. Largo - Allegro moderato
Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 27: 2. Allegro molto
Pictures at an Exhibition (Orch. by Maurice Ravel): 14. The Hut on Fowl's Legs (Baba-Yaga)
Pictures at an Exhibition (Orch. by Maurice Ravel): 12. The Catacombs (Sepulchrum romanum)
Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: Dance of the maids
Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: Montagues and Capulets
Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: A scene
Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: Tybalt's death
Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: Romeo and Juliet before parting
Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: Romeo at Juliet's tomb
Pictures at an Exhibition (Orch. by Maurice Ravel): 15. The Great Gate of Kiev
Symphonic Dances, Op. 45: 1. Non allegro
Symphonic Dances, Op. 45: 2. Andante con moto (Tempo di valse)
Symphonic Dances, Op. 45: 3. Lento assai - Allegro vivace
Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: The girl Juliet
Pictures at an Exhibition (Orch. by Maurice Ravel): 11. The Market-place at Limoges
Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: Masks
Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: Minuet
Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: Father Lawrence
Pictures at an Exhibition (Orch. by Maurice Ravel): 6. The Tuileries Gardens
Pictures at an Exhibition (Orch. by Maurice Ravel): 7. Bydlo
Pictures at an Exhibition (Orch. by Maurice Ravel): 8. Promenade IV
Pictures at an Exhibition (Orch. by Maurice Ravel): 9. Ballet of the Chickens in Their Shells
Pictures at an Exhibition (Orch. by Maurice Ravel): 10. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle
Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 27: 3. Adagio
Recording information

Recording Producers: Wilhelm Hellweg (Prokofiev, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov: Symphonies Nos. 1–3, The Rock, The Isle of the Dead); Volker Straus (Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances, Caprice Bohémien)
Recording Engineers: Co Witteveen, Frans van Dongen (Prokofiev); Joost Hummeling; Gerard Janszen (Mussorgsky); Tony Buczynski, Martin Vos (Rachmaninov: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3, The Rock); Co Witteveen, Martin Vos (Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances, Caprice Bohémien); Henk van Leeuwen, Dirk van Dijk (Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1, The Isle of the Dead)
Recording Locations: De Doelen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 14–17 May 1973 (Prokofiev), 23–24 & 27 December 1974 (Mussorgsky), 18–20 October 1976 (Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 3, The Rock), 13–15 June 1977 (Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2), 5–7 October 1978 (Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1, The Isle of the Dead); Wembley Town Hall, London, UK, 15–16 April 1972 (Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances, Caprice Bohémien
Remastering Engineer: Chris Bernauer
Original Philips LP Releases: 6500 362 (Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances, Caprice Bohémien); 6500 882 (Mussorgsky); 6500 640 (Prokofiev); 9500 309 (Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2); 9500 302 (Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 3, The Rock); 9500 445 (Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1); Philips 6866 206 or 6542 644 (Rachmaninov: The Isle of the Dead)
Eloquence Series Producer: Cyrus Meher-Homji

Reviews

‘The Philips engineers, working in the Rotterdam orchestra’s fine de Doelen hall, have gone out of their way to provide sound that is not just spectacular but wonderfully weighted and rounded.’ Gramophone (Mussorgsky)

‘De Waart’s lithe, compact reading dovetails with Ormandy’s compelling Columbia of 1967 … The Rotterdam players […] play with razor-sharp precision and gleaming, transparent tone, imparting an unexpected freshness and minimizing the grandiosity.’ Fanfare (Symphony No.1)

‘Edo de Waart’s reading is attractively volatile, bringing out the music’s freshness. With generally fast tempi the effect is emotionally lightweight, although the slow movement is very beautiful and the refined orchestral playing is naturally expressive throughout. The recording is full and well balanced.’ Penguin Guide to Records (Symphony No.2)