Steinberg/Pittsburgh SO: Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2 - Capitol P 8293
Jacket: EX / Vinyl: NM / US pressing
This superb LP from Capitol (P 8293, US pressing, green/gold circle label, mono) features conductor William Steinberg and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s magnificent account of Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2 in E minor Op. 27, sumptuously recorded in the fine acoustics of Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, on 25 January 1954.
At the wonderful music retailer ArkivMusic, one can find the following comments regarding EMI’s CD re-issue of Steinberg’s Capitol/EMI legacy, which contains this recording of the Rachmaninov Second Symphony:
“There were occasions during the three decades when the LP record ruled supreme – from the 1950s to the 1970s – when the chemistry between an orchestra, its conductor and their record company combined to work a magic that the commitment of long-term recording contracts quite often made possible. Karajan and the Philharmonia; Ansermet and the Suisse Romande; Dorati and the Minneapolis; Münch and the Boston Symphony, Cluytens and the Paris Conservatoire and Previn and the London Symphony are all prime examples of such collaborations. All of these produced recorded performances that are as fine today as they ever were and are all well-represented in the current CD catalogues. Until now there has been one successful recording collaboration that seems almost to have slipped under the radar: the Pittsburgh Symphony, William Steinberg and the Capitol Records producer, Richard C. Jones.”
Steinberg would later re-make this work in stereo for Command Classics on 1-2 May 1962, but this earlier reading boasts a frisson that latter cannot quite match. It remains one of the great Rachmaninov Second Symphonies on record.
This album was produced by Richard C. Jones and engineered by Frank Abbey – the sound is truly outstanding. The reverse side of the jacket carries insightful liner notes by the author of Rachmaninoff – The Man and his Music, which was written by the young man who later became a legendary producer for Decca: John Culshaw. The memorable cover photo and jacket design are uncredited.