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The great Evgeny Svetlanov (1928–2002) was music director of the USSR State Orchestra (1965–2000) with permanent positions with the LSO, the Residentie Orchestra in the Hague and with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
He frequently guest conducted the NHK Orchestra in Japan and the Orchestre National in Paris, as well as the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. May 2012 marked the tenth anniversary of his death and ICA celebrated this with a coupling of Rachmaninov’s The Bells – from Svetlanov’s last concert – and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, works by two composers who were very closely associated with the conductor.
Rachmaninov was, by his own account, Svetlanov’s favourite composer. This new live recording of his Symphony No.2 from the Royal Festival Hall in 1993 with the Philharmonia Orchestra has never been issued before.
The recording is in excellent stereo and Svetlanov was at his most exciting when caught live as opposed to working under studio conditions.
This is a riveting performance. To complete the CD is a rare live stereo recording of Svetlanov conducting Leonard Bernstein’s brilliant Candide Overture from the Edinburgh Festival in 1978. Svetlanov never recorded this in the studio and it appears here for the first time. ICA has received wonderful reviews for Svetlanov’s recordings of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.1 and Stravinsky’s Firebird Ballet (ICAC5007), Shostakovich’s Symphony No.10 (ICAC5036) and most recently Rachmaninov’s The Bells and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky (ICAC5069).
Sergei Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27