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The Chineke! Orchestra is carving a reputation for itself through high-profile performances. These live accounts of two staples of the repertoire perhaps reflect its strengths and weaknesses: freshness, virtuosity and a somewhat light approach.

The light sound is particularly noticeable in the Sibelius, and is accentuated by Cox’s no-nonsense approach: evocations of great spaces, forests or matters chthonic are but shadows here; the result is curiously insubstantial. True, Roderick Cox, who has just finished three years as associate conductor at the Minnesota Orchestra, finds some depth in the slow movement, where the Chineke! Orchestra’s brass shine resplendently (beautifully conveyed in the recording); but while there is grandeur in the third, it also loses its way.

The Rachmaninov receives a workaday performance by Gerard Aimontche, who has all the technical equipment but in the last analysis the performance fails to engage. A somewhat disappointing release all round.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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