Sergey Vassilievich Rachmaninov

(1873-1943)

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Rachmaninov - Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3

Rachmaninov - Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3


Rachmaninov:

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

Mikhail Pletnev (piano)

Libor Pešek

Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30

Cécile Ousset (piano)

Günther Herbig


“This coupling is a mismatch. Pletnev demonstrates affinity for Rachmaninov's style in the First Concerto, but Ousset's technically proficient playing of the Third seems solid and sadly deficient in spontaneity and imagination.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2009 ***

Warner Classics - Classics for Pleasure - 2282792

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Rachmaninov: Vespers, Op. 37

Rachmaninov: Vespers, Op. 37


Re-issued from the recording made a few years ago.

"a very serious competitor indeed." Gramophone

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Alexis Weissenberg

Alexis Weissenberg


Bach, J S:

Chromatic Fantasia & Fugue in D minor, BWV903

Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV830 (Corrente)

Brahms:

Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83

Orchestre National de l’ORTF, Georges Prêtre

Chopin:

Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58 (Largo)

Nocturne No. 21 in C minor, BI 108

Op. Posth

Étude Op. 25 No. 7 in C sharp minor

Prokofiev:

Piano Sonata No. 3 in A minor, Op. 28

Rachmaninov:

Prelude Op. 23 No. 6 in E flat major

Scriabin:

Nocturne in D flat major Op. 9 No. 2

Stravinsky:

Three Movements from Petrushka


“Weissenberg has a remarkable talent, as the three Petrushka pieces prove, but he has often misused it, with harsh results. This sampling of his repertoire and his thoughts on it is worth seeing.” BBC Music Magazine, Proms 2008 ****

“If you invested in Marc-André Hamelin's recent CD 'In a State of Jazz' (see page 1328) you will have heard the eponymous Sonata and five Charles Trenet song transcriptions by Alexis Weissenberg. Here is Weissenberg himself seen first in the innovative black–and–white film of Three Movements from Petrushka directed by Åke Falck in 1965 which revived the pianist's flagging career. The print is remarkably crisp and vivid even if, as on the original film, the sound of this high–octane performance is not always in sync. The DVD's bonus features a short interview with the pianist talking about the work.
The rest of the programme has performances that reveal what an uneven player Weissenberg was. His impassive face and economic gestures seem to reflect his disengagement with some of the music (try the Bach–Hess Jesu, Joy of Man'sDesiring and the slow movement – the only part of the work here – of Chopin's B minor Sonata).
On the other hand there's a riveting Prokofiev Third Sonata (complete) and Scriabin Nocturne for the left hand alone. The longest work from the 150 minutes of the disc is Brahms's Second Piano Concerto, a lightweight reading conducted by the amiable Georges Prêtre in 1969.
From the same label comes a 1989 recital from Sviatoslav Richter given in London's Barbican Centre by the light of a 40–watt bulb. Now expressing any criticism of the great man will invite a heap of invective, but when Richter comes on stage conveying the distinct impression that he would rather be anywhere else, it does appear rather graceless. What with that, the anglepoise and reading from the score you wonder if he is in the mood to play Mozart at all.
Thank heavens he is. One can put up with any amount of eccentricity to hear K282, K545 (Sonata facile) and K310 played like this. Close your eyes – that's the best way of enjoying this, especially as the editing is a real distraction.
The three (black–and–white) bonus tracks from 20 years earlier were broadcast in October 1969.
Looking once more as though his cat's just been run over, Richter rampages through Rachmaninov's Etude–Tableau Op 9 No 3 and Chopin's Etudes Op 10 No 4 (ludicriously fast) and No 12.
Then there is the endearing figure of Tatyana Nikolaieva in her signature work, the 24 Preludes and Fugues of Shostakovich. Filmed in December 1992 just 11 months before her death at the age of 69, the setting for the 150 minutes of the cycle appears to be a capacious Victorian drawing room, the instrument illuminated by an old–fashioned standard lamp (what is it about Russians and electricity?). Talking of which, Nikolaieva, looking every inch the archetypal babushka and clad in clothes that might have been worn by Clara Schumann, lights up these works from within. Here are old and intimate friends. It's doubtful whether we'll hear them better played – unsuprisingly, as she was the composer's inspiration for the cycle (she reveals as much in the brief interview that forms the DVD's bonus). Already, this is a valuable historical document.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“This beautiful, essential disc gathers together footage of the Bulgarianborn, French pianist Alexis Weissenberg from the mid-to- late 1960s, a period that marked his return to the concert platform after nearly a decade's absence. Pride of place goes to his 1965 film of Stravinsky's Three Movements from Petrushka, directed by Ingmar Bergman's assistant, Åke Falck. It's a technical tour de force that turns Weissenberg into a glamorous visionary, fetishises his hands and transforms his piano into a modernist abstraction of planes, lines and lethal-looking hammers. More conventionally filmed, but equally mesmerising, is a 1969 French TV performance of Brahms' Second Piano Concerto, with the ORTF Orchestra conducted by an enraptured-looking Georges Prêtre. Weissenberg's detractors have often taken him to task for his supposed heavy-handedness. The weight of his playing, however, was balanced by great interpretative directness and intensity, and this performance of the Brahms is among the most searching and profound that I know. A number of shorter TV appearances give us fine examples of his astringent Chopin, his deeply sexy Scriabin and his controversial, probing Bach.” The Guardian, Friday 12 December 2008 *****

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Medici Arts Classic Archive - 3078048

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Beethoven, Rachmaninoff & Brahms: Piano Trios

Beethoven, Rachmaninoff & Brahms: Piano Trios


Beethoven:

Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor, Op. 1 No. 3

Brahms:

Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor, Op. 101

Rachmaninov:

Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor, Op. post.


Dux - DUX0626

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Rachmaninov - Symphony No. 2

Rachmaninov - Symphony No. 2


Rachmaninov:

Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

Rimsky Korsakov:

Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34


Rotterdam Philharmonic, Edo de Waart

This Pentatone release comes from the Philips Quadraphonic Recordings archive and features two popular compositions by Russian composers. The 2nd Symphony is the most popular Symphony Rachmaninov composed. The Capricio Espagnol, became an instant success when at the first performance, an enthusiastic audience demanded that the entire piece be encored!

Remastered Quadro Recording (RQR)

“……the orchestra’s performance of Capriccio Espagnol is the real treat here. A clear, bright sound renders the music freshly energised, while the exciting rhythms and lively, sparkling melodies simply carry you away.” Classic FM Magazine, September, 2008

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Pentatone RQR - PTC5186153

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Martha Argerich - Music for two pianos

Martha Argerich - Music for two pianos


Brahms:

Sonata for 2 pianos in F minor, Op. 34b

Martha Argerich (piano) & Lilya Zilbertstein (piano)

Variations on a theme by Haydn for two pianos, Op. 56b 'St Anthony Variations'

Martha Argerich (piano) & Polina Leschenko (piano)

Lutosławski:

Variations on a Theme by Paganini, for two pianos

Martha Argerich (piano) & Giorgia Tomassi (piano)

Prokofiev:

Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op. 25 'Classical'

Transcribed for two pianos by Rikuya Terashima

Martha Argerich (piano) & Yefim Bronfman (piano)

Rachmaninov:

Suite No. 2 for Two Pianos, Op. 17

Martha Argerich (piano) & Gabriela Montero (piano)

Six Pieces, Op. 11

Six Morceaux for piano four hands

Lilya Zilberstein (piano) & Martha Argerich (piano)

Tchaikovsky:

The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a

Transcribed for two pianos by Nicolas Economu

Martha Argerich (piano) & Mirabela Dina (piano)


To celebrate one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century and following a five year collaboration with the very special ‘Progetto Martha Argerich’, EMI Classics proudly presents this definitive Argerich compilation showcasing the very best music for two pianos from the highly respected Lugano Music Festival.

“If the sound is uneven, that's far outweighed by the buzz we get from these scintillating live performances, all of which sound more like one player (with four hands) than two.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2008 *****

“…at a time when new music is more and more marginalised, modernity is expressed through the interpretation of past works by inspired performers. Lugano is a vibrant tribute to the concept.” Financial Times

Warner Classics - 2076232

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Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1

Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1


Rachmaninov:

Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Op. 13

Symphonic Movement in D minor 'Youth Symphony'

The Isle of the Dead - Symphonic Poem, Op. 29


Regarded as one of the most remarkable composers of the twentieth century, Serge Rachmaninoff wrote three romantically inclined symphonies, two of which are now standard orchestral repertoire. However, the premiere of Symphony No. 1 was such a disaster that Rachmaninoff refrained from composing anything more for the next three years. The conductor, Glazunov, is reputed to have been drunk, and Rachmaninoff was unable to attend the entire performance. He reacted by tearing up the score. Thankfully for posterity, the instrumental parts were preserved and rediscovered in 1945, permitting the work to be restored. It is a work full of youthful fervour, distinctive and sweeping themes, and nationalist sentiments, and is now widely regarded as a vivid example of his early talent. It is complemented here by the ‘Youth Symphony’, the first movement of a projected but never completed symphony in D minor, composed when Rachmaninoff was only seventeen, and the great symphonic poem The Isle of the Dead, inspired by Arnold Böcklin’s painting of the same name which Rachmaninoff had seen on display in Paris in 1907.

Composed in 1909, it is still a relatively early work, but contains some of the dark Russian spiritual qualities which Rachmaninoff was to develop further in his later compositions.

“Rachmaninov's First Symphony...here receives a landmark performance from the BBC Philharmonic and Gianandrea Noseda. When you listen to it alongside a mature masterpiece, particularly such a darkly atmospheric performance of The Isle of the Dead as this one, it is possible to appreciate how Rachmaninov could deem passages in the symphony to be "weak, childish, forced and bombastic", yet Noseda demonstrates the music's power, eloquent beauty and structural cohesion. Written when he was still in his late teens, the First Symphony already displays distinctive Rachmaninov fingerprints in harmonic terms and in the shaping of melodic ideas, and is in the grip of the fatalism that is rarely absent from his music. Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic recognise this general tenor, but the spectrum for expression of it is broad, from vigorous passion in the first movement and finale to the wistful rumination of the central Larghetto.” The Telegraph, 21st June 2008

“Nothing could be more liquid or gloomy than [Noseda's] reading of the superb symphonic poem The Isle of the Dead. His gifts for mood-juggling and structural flow ensure equally fine accounts of the student Youth Symphony and the composer’s official, stormy Symphony No 1. The full Chandos sound makes everything glow in the dark, especially the shadowy scherzo.” The Times, 6th June 2008 ****

“With the BBC Phil, he delves deep into the dark, gloomy recesses of the Russian soul, brilliantly evoking the composer’s brooding, headily chromatic tone poem The Isle of the Dead...Chandos’s brilliant recording [of Symphony 1] enhances a performance that takes us on an emotional rollercoaster ride: the passion and despair of the composer’s unrequited love for a married woman is drawn with febrile drama here.” Sunday Times, 1st June 2008 ****

“Rachmaninov's First Symphony of 1895... published only after the composer's death. Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic have the work's measure and their performance has a full-blooded intensity and fire. The Isle of the Dead, haunting and powerful in conception, is an undisputed masterpiece. Noseda captures the work's concentration and anguish with its inexorable sense of movement.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2008 *****

“Accomplished and easy to enjoy; but, in a crowded marketplace, not really a front-runner.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2008

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - July 2008

Chandos Gianandrea Noseda Rachmaninov series - CHAN10475

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Classic Branford Marsalis

Classic Branford Marsalis


Debussy:

The Little Shepherd (from Children's Corner)

Arabesque No. 1

Fauré:

Requiem: Pie Jesu

Sicilienne from Pelléas et Mélisande

Ibert:

Larghetto from Concertino da camera for Alto Saxophone

Marsalis, B:

A Thousand Autumns

Milhaud:

La Création du Monde, Op. 81

Rachmaninov:

Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14

Ravel:

Pavane pour une infante défunte

Vocalise-étude en forme de habanera

Satie:

Gymnopédie No. 3

Stravinsky:

Pastorale

Villa-Lobos:

Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5: Aria (Cantilena)


World-renowned saxophonist Branford Marsalis has always been a man of numerous musical interests. The three-time Grammy Award-winner, known for his innovative spirit and broad musical scope, is equally at home on the stages of the world’s greatest jazz clubs as major concert halls. It is the latter platform which inspires Classic Branford Marsalis; a fascinating and diverse collection of his best-loved classical tracks, collected from his previous recordings.

“This compilation album is an uncomplicated showcase for the silky talents of Branford Marsalis, whose seamless soprano sax pours balm over some favourite melodies. Milhaud's 'La Creation du monde' allows Marsalis to display his alto sax jazz technique, and his own quartet joins him for engaging composition, 'A Thousand Autumns'. There's nothing too demanding - just add a glass of chilled white wine and a warm summer evening.” Stephen Pritchard, The Observer, 6th July 2008

Sony - 88697275442

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Rubinstein plays Rachmaninov

Rubinstein plays Rachmaninov


Rachmaninov:

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

Recorded 27th May, 1946 in Carnegie Hall, New York City

NBC Symphony Orchestra, Vladimir Golschmann

Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43

Recorded 16th-17th September, 1947 in EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London

Philharmonia Orchestra, Walter Susskind

Prelude Op. 3 No. 2 in C sharp minor

Recorded 11th December, 1950 in the RCA Studios, Hollywood


Although Rubinstein did not play many works by Rachmaninov, he made four recordings of the Piano Concerto No. 2. If, in this May 1946 recording, Rubinstein’s adherence to the text is not always completely accurate, his performance is full of exhilaration and panache with fast tempos and a climax judged to have any audience jumping to its feet. The 1947 recording of the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is remarkable, even today, for the high quality of the sound, described as “Stunning! The recording is almost too vivid”, by a critic in 1948. The only solo work of Rachmaninov that Rubinstein committed to disc was the famous Prelude in C sharp minor Op. 3 No. 2 which he recorded twice.

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Naxos Historical Great Pianists - 8111289

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Emil Gilels Live in Moscow, Vol. 3

Emil Gilels Live in Moscow, Vol. 3


Bach, J S:

Prelude in B minor (after BWV855a, arr Siloti)

Beethoven:

Piano Sonata No. 12 in A flat major, Op. 26 'March Funebre'

Prokofiev:

Piano Sonata No. 3 in A minor, Op. 28

Prelude in C major, Op. 12 No. 7

Visions fugitives, Op. 22 (extracts)

8 Short Pieces

Rachmaninov:

Daisies, Op. 38 No. 3

Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14

Prelude Op. 23 No. 10 in G flat major

Prelude Op. 32 No. 11 in B major

Prelude Op. 23 No. 5 in G minor

Prelude Op. 3 No. 2 in C sharp minor

Prelude Op. 23 No. 2 in B flat major

Scriabin:

Étude Op. 2 No. 1 in C sharp minor


Emil Gilels (piano)

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VAI Emil Gilels Live in Moscow - DVDVAI4468

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