It's fairly common knowledge that Rachmaninov, like Tchaikovsky and any number of contemporaneous Russians, wasn't too hot on "organic continuity" (of musical argument). I don't suppose there are many people who would claim that they could bolt their symphonies together anything like as solidly as (say) Beethoven or Brahms; simply, it doesn't come naturally to Russians. If you happen to regard organic continuity as an essential element of a "good" symphony, then you are bound to think of those Russian symphonies as "inferior" IN THIS RESPECT.
Admitting the episodic nature of the music hardly constitutes an "appalling" opinion. Other comments of Mr. Hedley's show that he himself holds the music in considerable affection - it's not his, but Slatkin's affections that are in doubt here.
Not only is Mr. Hedley entitled to invoke these considerations when reviewing a recording, he is to a considerable extent OBLIGED to do so - particularly as they have a significant impact on the quality of performances. Mr. Hedley is thus not disqualified from arguing his case, but able to reach a much more informed, far better argued conclusion. And, it seems to me, that's exactly what he did - so what's REALLY your problem?
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