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Recorded live at London’s Royal Festival Hall in 2016, this is a fine supplement to Vladimir Ashkenazy’s slightly tauter Royal Concertgebouw Rachmaninov reading for Decca, but it does not displace them. The recorded sound is beautiful, capturing the velvety Philharmonia strings to perfection, while perspectives are well caught throughout. The slow movement of the symphony (which also houses its Scherzo) finds Ashkenazy a touch too pliant; it is in the vitality of the finale that the performance’s stature shines, the strings glorious in Rachmaninov’s counterpoint.

Ashkenazy’s Symphonic Dances make much of the reflective contrasts of the first movement and bring out a nightmarish slant to the central Tempo di valse, though the beginning of the finale is underpowered.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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