man is Andrew Gourlay, Musical Director of Orquesta Sinfónica Castilla y León. Taking his orchestra down a path forged by the likes of the Berlin Symphony, he has endowed it with its own recording label, and this is its first offering.
Gourlay has Russian blood, so his choice of project can readily be understood. Isle of the Dead is a thoroughly programmatic evocation of a painting of that name, and is reminiscent of Rachmaninov’s darker piano writing.
His first symphony was a big disappointment and it was some time before Rachmaninov screwed up the courage to write number two. When he did, it won a Glinka Award and 1,000 roubles, which cheered him up no end.
Gourlay gives us the full version of a symphony that has been much cut by others, but right away there is a brisk sense of purpose and clarity of diction that eminently justify his choice of repertoire for a first CD. The lush, expansive orchestration of this symphony needs careful but confident handling if it is not to collapse under its own weight. Gourlay and his orchestra excel, passing the sonorities around with admirable discipline and restraint.
- Tom Forrester-Paton