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Rachmaninoff was enjoying, or enduring, a lonely eminence when he wrote this liturgical masterwork. It attracts that slightly contradictory description because it seems to represent a struggle between self-expression and submersion of the self in the ritual elements, with the former just winning out. This, perhaps, is why it occupies such a prominent place in the repertoire and commands so much respect. Fink reins in the more extravagant excursions and flights, delivering a work of solemn authority and quietly visionary penetration. If Rachmaninoff rarely wrote more daringly, he has seldom been so understandingly recorded.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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