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Evgeny Svetlanov

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BRAHMS
Symphony No.3

DEBUSSY
La Mer
London Symphony Orchestra
Evgeny Svetlanov
ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL, LONDON, 17 APRIL 1975

BONUS

CHAUSSON
Poème de l’amour et de la mer:
La Mort de l’amour – Le Temps des lilas
Janet Baker MEZZO-SOPRANO
London Symphony Orchestra
Evgeny Svetlanov
ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL, LONDON, 17 APRIL 1975

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ICA Classics have already released four CDs of the great Russian conductor Evgeny Svetlanov in Russian music comprising Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich. He was also a masterly conductor of non Russian composers of the late romantic era including  Bruckner, Elgar, Mahler as well as Brahms and Debussy, two composers he performed quite regularly throughout his career. This  gripping 1975 concert with the LSO  is recorded in brilliant stereo and has never been available before. The bonus consists of Dame Janet Baker's wonderful singing of the final song from Chausson's Poeme de l'amour et de la mer;  'La Mort de l'amour - Le Temps des lilas'. It derives from the same concert and was previously issued on BBC Legends.

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Brahms Symphony No.3 IV Allegro

Debussy La Mer 3rd movement

Grade 
Agnieszka M
03/Feb/2015

The performance of the symphony begins at a moderate tempo … nothing startling. The rhythm is supple, rather than rigid. There is even an air of mystery to the brass chords that announce the return of the exposition. Am I going to actually like this performance? Lovely sonority and solo playing characterizes the unhurried Andante movement. The winds are particularly expressive. This is one of the best performances of this movement I’ve ever heard. Am I writing this about Evgeny Svetlanov? Who’s actually conducting this? Similar beauties are heard in the third movement, followed by a majestic but still energetic finale. Frankly, I was astounded by this performance, since I am anything but an uncritical admirer of this conductor. The La mer is nothing to sneeze at either, quite impassioned and intense rather than “Impressionistic,” but here the recorded competition is brutal. As for the Poéme de l’amour et de la mer, the recording only contains “La morte de l’amour” and “Le temps des lilas,” the second and third parts of the piece. Janet Baker delivers them eloquently and Svetlanov provides the requisite sensuous accompaniment, but the entire performance of the Poéme was recorded and previously issued on BBC Records, so this isn’t much of a bonus. At least the audience at the concert certainly got their money’s worth and, judging by their response, seems to have realized it.

James Miller

Fanfare

    Grade 
    Agnieszka M
    03/Feb/2015

    We remember Svetlanov (1928-2002) primarily for his 35 years conducting the USSR Orchestra, where his emotional, often overwrought performances of Russian music were much admired. His discography of Russian music isimmense, but he also ventured into composers like these three. In addition he conducted a lot in the West, mainly London, and these performances come from a 1975 concert in Royal Festival Hall. We probably would never put Svetlanov on a short list of great Brahmsians, but this Third is quite a wonderful performance. The pacing
    is a bit slow, but he has a grasp of the tragedy in the piece, which ends softly in every movement and defies any attempt to make it heroic. The careful molding in the development of I and in many spots of the interior movements sets Svetlanov apart from conductors who, by comparison, merely play the notes. The open-
    ing to IV seems a little stilted, but in a minute or two we’re at high passion. The soft section leading to the F-A-flat-A return (around 6:30) is expertly handled, as is the soft conclusion. Svetlanov understood the emotional language of this piece.
    We don’t associate Svetlanov with Debussy
    either, but here the results are less convincing. The climactic sections are exciting enough, but the delicate fabric of Debussy’s orchestration often doesn’t come through. The music sounds too insistent and constrained; it doesn’t float or flow. To be sure, the end of the final
    movement (‘Dialogue’) is thrilling, but in general this misses the mark. The Chausson doesn’t sound very French either, but here Janet
    Baker in splendid voice more than compensates. This is not the entire piece, but only the final section (‘La Mort de l’amour’); the complete work is available on BBC Legends 4077.
    Baker, in any case, sings with lots of involved emotion, and the orchestral playing is passionate. One wishes this were not an excerpt.
    All in all, this is a fine example of Svetlanov
    in unfamiliar territory. The sound is very good for 1975, though not as transparent as the best of today’s recordings. Notes are included, but no text for the Chausson.

    Althouse

    American Record Guide

      Grade 
      Aurelie B
      21/Jul/2014

      " a formidable example of who Svetlanov was"

      David Patrick Stearns

      Gramophone, May 2014

        Grade 
        Aurelie B
        15/Jul/2014

        "This Brahms 3 is gripping. Forceful and dramatic [...] All in all, a truly memorable performance. [...]"

        Stephen Greenbank

        Full review at http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2014/Mar14/Brahms_sy3_ICAC5123.htm

        Music Web International, April 2014

          Grade 
          Aurelie B
          14/Jul/2014

          Evgeny Svetlanov (1928-2002) had a close association with the LSO, and this broadcast-live concert begins with a powerful, passionate and yielding account of Brahms’s Third Symphony (a work that gets a mention in an episode of Fawlty Towers!), vividly and dynamically presented. Svetlanov was no stranger to Brahms’s Symphonies – he recorded all four in the Soviet Union – and his reading of the Third in London is compelling in its colourful emotions. It’s a big performance (although some may feel Svetlanov’s omission of the first-movement exposition repeat lessens the music’s scale), spacious in tempo to heighten expression and given con amore, the LSO responding in kind; the eloquent third movement is particularly affecting.

          In the Debussy, which closed the concert, Svetlanov presents ‘the sea’ in all its magnificence, friskiness and wildness. Full of atmosphere, there are times when he presses ahead a little too much and undoes the symphonic logic of the score, but there are many heart-rending moments, too, as well as much beguiling detail. The LSO is in fine fettle, flooding the hall with sound. Svetlanov here is most attracted to the dramatic aspects of Debussy’s score (he refined his view in Paris in 2001 – review-link below – and indeed was then chartering wondrous Celibidachian waters), sometime glossing over subtleties, but thrilling nonetheless. For the record, Svetlanov excludes the ad lib brass fanfares in the finale (here between 6’21 and 6’30); he played them later in Paris. [...]

          www.classicalsource.com, July 2014

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