RACHMANINOFF Symphony No. 2 in E Minor. TCHAIKOVSKY Fantasy Overture Romeo and Juliet, Marche slave, Manfred Symphony
Royal Philharmonic Orch/Yuri Temirkanov, cond. (Rachmaninoff) London Symphony Orch/Andre Previn, cond.
EMI Double Forte 69776 (2 CDs) (B) (ADD) TT: 64:45 & 77:00


I've listed Rachmaninoff first as it is the prime reason to have this two-for-one CD set. Recorded in 1977, it was Yuri Temirkanov's first recording of the work, and it is superior to his 1991 digital version on RCA with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. The older reading is highly romantic in every way, caressing the composer's rich themes almost (but not quite) to excess, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing at its peak. Lush strings are appropriate for the score, brass is brilliant, and there is plenty of impact to percussion. Previn's Tchaikovsky is admirable, with the advantage of Kingsway Hall acoustics, but Temirkanov's Rachmaninoff is the lure of this very inexpensive package. Unfortunately, liner notes are severely curtailed.