Like Eugene Ormandy, Leonard Slatkin chose to record The Bells in English (Rachmaninov had set a Russian translation of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem), although, irrespective of the sung language, this is a wonderful performance of a masterpiece – fine solo and choral singing, a vividly responsive and sensitive orchestra, inspired by a conductor who wholly embraces the varied moods of this birth-to-death piece – vernal freshness, innocent love, alarm, and facing the final curtain, the ultimate bars poignantly expansive, beautifully prepared for here: you know something special is coming. What’s more, the (Elite) recorded sound in this new remastering (Clements/Walton) is superb in its balance, clarity and dynamism. If Spring (Vesna; baritone & chorus) is unlikely to ever be on a shortlist of Rachmaninov’s most popular or greatest works, it here receives an atmospheric and expressive outing, something of a revelation for its blossoming and dramatic qualities, and – also given in their native language – the choral Three Russian Songs, compact in length yet with so much to offer. VOXNX3031CD.

https://naxosdirect.co.uk/labels/vox-classics-26971