Sergey Vassilievich Rachmaninov

(1873-1943)

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Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances, Op. 45

Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances, Op. 45


Rachmaninov:

Symphonic Dances, Op. 45

Aleko - Intermezzo

Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14


Presto CD

DG - 4108942

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Earl Wild plays Rachmaninov

Earl Wild plays Rachmaninov


Kreisler:

Liebesleid

trans. Rachmaninov

Mendelssohn:

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Scherzo

trans. Rachmaninov

Rachmaninov:

Variations on a Theme of Chopin, Op. 22

Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op. 42

Preludes Op. 23 Nos. 1-10 (complete)

Preludes Op. 32 Nos. 1-13 (complete)

Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 36

Rimsky Korsakov:

Flight of the Bumble Bee

trans. Rachmaninov


Earl Wild (piano)

Ivory Classics - 78002

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Hélène Grimaud - Living with Wolves

Hélène Grimaud - Living with Wolves


MUSICAL EXTRACTS:

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2

Rachmaninov: Corelli Variations

Bach/Busoni: Chaconne in D minor

Rachmaninov: Etude tableau No.1 in F minor

Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.31 in A flat

Schumann: Piano Quintet

Brahms: Piano Concerto No.1

Gershwin: Piano Concerto

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.4

Brahms: Violin Sonata No.3


Directed by Reiner E. Moritz

Commentary in English with French and German subtitles

The playing of the young pianist Hélène Grimaud has been described as “fire and ice, passion and reason all in one” (Le Monde de la Musique); “coiled energy eventuating in unbridled excitement” (NewYork Times);“superlative technique.. .she unfailingly delivers original inflected conceptions of the music” (Financial Times). But she is not only an extraordinary pianist, she is also an extraordinary woman, consumed by two loves in life -music and wolves. With her partner, photographer J. Henry Fair, she has founded a Wolf Conservation Centre at her home in South Salem, New York.

Grimaud came to music because it was the last resort of her parents, university professors in the South of France. “I was so easily bored. I was a distraction in the classroom. They tried martial arts, they tried sports. Then someone suggested music.” Music cured her boredom and her facility for playing the piano proved to be astonishing. By the age of thirteen she was accepted by a unanimous vote into the Paris Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique. In 1985 she was awarded first prize in Jacques Rouvier’s class and was invited to participate in masterclasses given by Gyorgy Sander, Leon Fleisher and Jorge Bolet, who said of her, “It has been a long time, a very long time, since I have met a natural talent of such quality and musical sensibility.” Her concert career took off in 1987 and now she performs with major orchestras around the world as well as being in demand for recital appearances. In February 2000 she was named ‘Soloist of the Year’ by ‘Les Victoires de la musique’. Still in her early thirties, she is arguably one of the very top pianists of her generation. To be spontaneous, not to be afiaid of taking risks and always to play as though it is the first time is Helene Grimaud’s maxim.

This encounter with Grimaud captures the essence of a musician and woman who is full of surprises. Refi-eshingly open and engaging, she gives an insight into her life and her music and is seen at work in Europe, performing, rehearsing and recording. At home in upstate New York her passion for wolves and her concern to educate people about these top predators is evident as she introduces her charges.

There are extensive performance extracts featuring Helene Grimaud as a concert soloist, a chamber musician and in recital, playing music by Rachmaninov, Bach/Busoni, Beethoven Brahms and Schumann.

“Despite the title, Grimaud's Wolf Conservation Center features only briefly among the excerpts from rehearsals, concerts and recording sessions. But, mostly in her own words, the picture emerges of a fiercely talented and determined musician.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2009 ****

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EMI - 2165759

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Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 2

Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 2


Rachmaninov:

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18

Moments Musicaux, Op. 16


Although they were separated due to a period of creative despair which interrupted his work, both the second Piano Concerto and the Moments Musicaux date from Rachmaninov’s early period, during which he was active primarily as a composer rather than a pianist. This explains the character of the second Piano Concerto, which partakes of both chamber music and symphony, despite the dazzling virtuosity of the solo piano part.

Pianist Dejan Lazic was born in Zagreb, Croatia, and grew up in Salzburg where he studied at the ‘Mozarteum’. He is quickly establishing a reputation worldwide as “a brilliant pianist and a gifted musician full of ideas and able to project them persuasively” (Gramophone). The New York Times hailed his performance as “full of poetic, shapely phrasing and vivid dynamic effects that made this music sound fresh, spontaneous and impassioned”. After his recent, highly successful Edinburgh Festival recital, The Scotsman wrote: “Dejan Lazic shines like a new star”. As recitalist and soloist with orchestra, he has appeared at major venues and at numerous international festivals across Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Australia. Alongside his solo career, Dejan Lazic is also a passionate chamber musician and active as a composer. The London Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1932 by Sir Thomas Beecham and is recognised as one of the world’s great orchestras. The young conductor Kirill Petrenko, hails from Omsk via Austria and appointments in Meiningen and at the Komische Oper Berlin, confirms his concern for clarity and vividness in this recording as a guest conductor of the LPO.

“…Lazic's bland treatment of the famous opening bars… belies the character of the rest of the performance: the build to the first movement's climax is impressively handled… and the second and third movements are played with sensitivity and spirit. The six Moments musicaux... contain arguably the finest of Rachmaninov's keyboard music from the 19th century. ...Lazic offers some quietly unaffected playing of the odd-numbered pieces, and storms through the virtuoso even-numbers...” Gramophone Magazine, February 2009

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Channel - CCSSA26308

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Rachmaninov: Vespers, Op. 37

Rachmaninov: Vespers, Op. 37


Olga Borodina (mezzo-soprano), Vladimir Mostovoy (tenor)

St.Petersburg Chamber Choir, Nikolai Korniev

Classic FM - 4766610

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Rachmaninov: Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op. 31

Rachmaninov: Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op. 31


Peter Scorer (deacon)

Corydon Singers, Matthew Best

“Impeccable, their sense of timing just right—leisurely, tender and reverential … a worthy follow-up to its admirable Vespers” BBC Music Magazine

“As good as we have learned to expect from Matthew Best’s Corydon Singers, and Best does the music itself proud” CD Review

Helios - CDH55318

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Vanessa Wagner - Variations

Vanessa Wagner - Variations


Berio:

Cinque Variazioni (1952/1953 – revised 1966)

Brahms:

Variations on a theme by Schumann in F sharp minor, Op. 9

Haydn:

Andante & Variations in F minor, Hob.XVII:6 (Sonata - un piccolo divertimento)

Rachmaninov:

Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op. 42

Rameau:

Gavotte and Variations


Vanessa Wagner (piano)

The pianist Vanessa Wagner put together the programme for this recording in successive stages. The idea first began to form in concert when she began playing two of the pieces in a number of recitals, Rachmaninov’s Corelli Variations and the Berio Cinque Variazione. As time went on, she read through and listened to many different works, from all periods. Some pieces automatically disqualified themselves because of their duration, but in the end she initially decided in favour of Haydn’s highly unconventional Variations in F minor and Brahms’ Variations on a theme from Bunte Blätter by his friend Robert Schumann, a work hardly ever played. Although the music of Rameau was not at first considered, when the pianist came across his Gavotte Variée the music seemed to fit in perfectly and create a natural balance with the rest of the programme.

Vanessa Wagner’s career itinerary has been meteoric. After obtaining a Premier Prix at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris at the age of seventeen (in Dominique Merlet’s class), she entered the postgraduate cycle (class of Jean-François Heisser) as top student of her year. She came to the attention of Leon Fleisher and was admitted to the Cadenabbia Academy, where she was taught by several great masters of the keyboard. She was named ‘solo instrumental discovery of the year’ at the Victoires de la Musique in 1999. To date she has recorded five CDs devoted respectively to Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Mozart, Schumann, and Debussy, all of which have received numerous awards. She also participated in the Arte broadcast and Naïve DVD Les Pianos de la Nuit de La Roque-d’Anthéron, which won the award ‘Recommandé par Classica’.

Ambroisie - AM134

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Osmo Vänskä conducts Rachmaninov and Bax

Osmo Vänskä conducts Rachmaninov and Bax

Recorded live at Royal Festival Hall, London, 8 December 2007.


Bax:

Tintagel

Rachmaninov:

Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44


Osmo Vänskä conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra in thrilling live recordings of works by Bax and Rachmaninov, two composers renowned for their sweeping romanticism. As his tone poem unfolds, Bax’s music evokes legendary images of Tintagel whilst also reflecting a passionate love affair. Similarly, Rachmaninov’s third and most expressive symphony is a work of intense lyricism, unified by a melancholic and emotional melody.

This is a previously unavailable recording of two live performances.

Osmo Vänskä is a highly praised recorded conductor. He is currently recording the complete Beethoven symphony cycle with the Minnesota Orchestra.

In this recording Vänskä brings his innate understanding of Sibelius to Bax, one of Sibelius’s contemporaries. Vänskä can give the same voice to Rachmaninov as any great Russian conductor. He has a distinguished profile on both sides of the Atlantic. He is Chief Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra and also has an active European career.

‘The players revelled in its glamorous seascape.’ The Guardian concert review on Bax, December 07

‘Drawing a surging performance that was by turns panoramic and passionate, the Finnish conductor proved himself a potent advocate for this neglected British composer… [This was followed by] a glittering and luxuriant performance of Rachmaninov’s Symphony No 3.’ The Sunday Telegraph concert review on Bax and Rachmaninov, December 07

“These are two marvellous orchestral display-pieces… Despite a host of sterling British competition from Boult, Barbirolli, Handley, Lloyd-Jones et al, Osmo Vänskä seems to have totally identified with Bax and actually presents us with one of the most thrilling Tintagels currently available. The Rachmaninov is also a notable account. ...Vänskä accumulates strength through the first movement and the second and third movements are splendidly incisive, with a tumultuous impetus to the finale...” BBC Music Magazine, February 2009 *****

“…Vänskä's… Tintagel has real fire in its belly allied to a surging momentum, and he uncovers many a fleck of exquisite detail within Bax's endlessly resourceful and wondrously evocative scoring… The Rachmaninov… is just as involving… intensely refreshing... in its zestful swagger, scrupulous preparation... limpid beauty and concern for the bigger scheme (how shrewd of Vänskä to keep in reserve such a scintillating burst of energy for the headlong closing pages).” Gramophone Magazine, March 2009

“Vänskä's Tintagel has real fire in its belly allied to a surging momentum, and he uncovers many a fleck of exquisite detail within Bax's endlessly resourceful and wondrously evocative scoring.
The ecstatic B major sunburst that heralds the second subject's unforgettable return has all the thrusting ardour one could wish for. The justly enthusiastic applause bursts in somewhat too precipitately for comfort.
The Rachmaninov (complete with exposition repeat in the first movement) is just as involving, not quite as volatile or heart-on-sleeve as some but intensely refreshing all the same in its zestful swagger, scrupulous preparation, limpid beauty and concern for the bigger scheme (how shrewd of Vänskä to keep in reserve such a scintillating burst of energy for the headlong closing pages).
The engineering does ample justice to some splendidly selfless and thoroughly invigorating music-making, though in the Bax you might need to crank up the volume a notch higher than usual. A strongly recommendable issue.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

LPO - LPO0036

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Gennady Rozhdestvensky

Gennady Rozhdestvensky


Rachmaninov:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1

Proms 31/8/79

Rimsky Korsakov:

Russian Easter Festival Overture, Op. 36

Shostakovich:

Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op. 43

London Proms broadcast 9/9/1978


Booklet Notes:Tracklisting in English, French, German.

Rozhdestvensky was the first Russian conductor to be appointed head of major Western orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra 1978-81 and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra from 1981.

These London recordings from 1978 are an illustration of his work at that time.

A close friend of Shostakovich, he was his favoured interpreter and championed his works. Considered a great interpreter of Russian orchestral music, the beauty of these recordings is no surprise.

"The Soviet conductor…brought to the music an easy command and a dramatic sensibility." The New York Times

"Gennady Rozhdestvensky, one of Russia's true masters of the baton…His engagement of the orchestra is equally masterful. With his subtle hands and explicit wand, he draws each player into the focus of his interpretive intent." The Globe and Mail

"One of the great eccentrics of the podium." The Guardian

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Medici Arts Classic Archive - 3085278

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York Bowen - The complete 78rpm Recordings

York Bowen - The complete 78rpm Recordings


Bach, J S:

Capriccio from Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV826

recorded 1923?

Beethoven:

Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58

recorded 1925

Aeolian Orchestra, Stanley Chapple

Piano Sonata No. 13 in E flat major, Op. 27 No. 1 'Quasi una fantasia' (Andante)

recorded 1923?

Piano Sonata No. 24 in F sharp major, Op. 78

recorded 1927

Bowen:

Suite No. 2, Op. 30: Finale ‘A Romp’

recorded 1925

The Way to Polden (an ambling tune) Op. 76

recorded 1925

Arabesque, Op. 20, No. 1

recorded 1925

Fragments from Hans Andersen, Op. 58

recorded 1926 (with spoken introductions)

Brahms:

Capriccio in B minor, Op. 76 No. 2

recorded 1925

Chopin:

Ballade No. 3 in A flat major, Op. 47

recorded 1925

Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 31

recorded 1926

Waltz No. 2 in A flat major 'Grande Valse Brillante', Op. 34 No. 1

recorded 1926

Polonaise No. 1 in C sharp minor, Op. 26 No. 1

recorded 1926

Étude Op. 25 No. 5 in E minor

recorded 1927

Prelude Op. 28 No. 23 in F major

recorded 1927

Prelude Op. 28 No. 20 in C minor

recorded 1927

Prelude Op. 28 No. 3 in G major

recorded 1927

Cochrane:

Le Ruisseau

recorded 1925

Debussy:

Estampe No. 3 - Jardins sous la pluie

recorded 1925

Arabesque No. 2

recorded 1926

Gardiner, H B:

London Bridge from Five Pieces

recorded 1926

Gavotte from Five Pieces

recorded 1926

Liszt:

Eglogue (Années de pèlerinage I, S. 160 No. 7)

recorded 1925

Mendelssohn:

Scherzo in E minor, Op. 16 No. 2

released January 1915

Moscheles:

Etude, Op. 70 No. 5

recorded 1925

Rachmaninov:

Prelude Op. 23 No. 5 in G minor

recorded 1926

Polichinelle, Op. 3, No. 4

recorded 1925

Schumann:

Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Op. 26 (Allegro)

recorded 1926

Schütt:

Etude Mignonne in D major, Op. 16, No. 1

released January 1915


Edwin York Bowen (piano)

In recent years York Bowen, the composer, has enjoyed a spectacular revival, but until now his talents as pianist (barring a late recording of his own music for Lyrita) have not been heard since the days of 78s. At the height of his success, in the first decades of the 20th century, Bowen was as much known as pianist as composer and frequently performed at the Proms amongst other things. His first recording, a very rare disc on the Marathon label, was released in 1915, but the bulk of his work was done for Vocalion; after they went bankrupt in 1927 he appears to have made no further 78s. Pride of place must go to Bowen’s Beethoven 4th Piano Concerto. This was the very first recording of the work and its neglect has been due to the fact that it was one of the last recordings to be made under the old acoustic process which was superseded the year the work was issued. Bowen’s pianism is extremely fluent and he plays his own cadenzas! Through all the featured works we hear a pianist who plays in the ‘grand manner’ and that, and his preference for romantic repertoire, reveal him as somewhat atypical of the English pianist of his time. Perhaps his nickname ‘the English Rachmaninov’ did indeed hit the nail on the head.

“Bowen's supple musicianship and commanding technique (you sense there's always more in reserve) could hold their own with anyone's in his era. His Beethoven and Debussy are special. Reasonable sound for the vintage.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2009 ****

“…throughout this collection, Bowen comes across as a wonderfully assure musician for whom the studio held no fears. Few pianists have ever played the middle section of Rachmaninov's G minor Prelude No 5 to such telling effect.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2008

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - December 2008

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