I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman


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Richter’s Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff:
Piano Concerto #1
Piano Concerto #2 *
Prelude, Op. 23 #1
Prelude, Op. 32 #9
Prelude, Op. 32 #10
Prelude, Op. 32 #12

Sviatoslav Richter, piano
USSR Radio and TV State Symphony Orchestra/Kurt Sanderling
* Leningrad Symphonic Orchestra/Kurt Sanderling
Praga Digitals SACD PRD350056 Hybrid Stereo

Sviatoslav Richter

Historic Rachmaninoff

In spite of his gigantic recorded legacy Sviatoslav Richter left us relatively little Rachmaninoff. Of the famous concertos he only recorded the First and Second, and not even that many times. Hearing these Russian live documents from the 1950’s again, reissued by the Czech label Praga Digitals (the first in yet another “Richter Edition”), can but increase our regrets he didn’t return to them more often.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Rachmaninoff by Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (part 1)

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Caprice Bohémien, Op. 12
Vocalise, Op. 34 #14
Symphony #3, Op. 44

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko
EMI 679019-2 DDD

Vasily Petrenko

Rachmaninoff Symphony #3 by Vasily Petrenko

Vasily Petrenko and his Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra continue their cycle of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s orchestral works and concertos. Started on the Avie label (with the Isle of the Dead, the Symphonic Dances and the piano concertos featuring Simon Trpceski as soloist Avie AV2191 & AV2192), this new CD focuses on the 3rd Symphony and marks Petrenko’s debut on EMI Classics. Interestingly, the EMI disc was (partly) recorded at the same time – September 2009 – in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and produced by the same team as the older Avie CD already released in 2010. The transfer from an obscure to a more prestigious label reflects the success story of the award-winning young Russian conductor in another way. While one may still have to look for Vasily Petrenko’s name on the Avie CD cover, EMI generously gives him equal billing with Rachmaninoff.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Wang and Abbado team up for Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff:
Concerto for Piano #2, Op. 18
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43

Yuja Wang, piano
Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Claudio Abbado
Deutsche Grammophon 4779308 DDD 56:11

Yuja Wang

Yuja Wang plays Rachmaninoff

On paper this looked pretty much like the ideal match: a young and gifted pianist taken under the wings of a revered old maestro to perform two of the most popular Rachmaninoff pieces in the repertory. 23-year-old Beijing-born and Curtis Institute graduate Yuja Wang already recorded two solo albums for Deutsche Grammophon, both marking her admirable technique as well as hinting at a certain promise of musical insight. To team Wang for her first concert album with veteran Claudio Abbado undoubtedly makes a most alluring lineup. And in case some of us were at a loss about the origins of this music, the budding star poses sweetly in a phony Siberian outfit – surely, this has to be a smash?
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Rachmaninoff anthology by Pletnev

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Symphony #1, Op. 13
Symphony #2, Op. 27
Symphony #3, Op. 44
The Rock, Op. 7
The Bells, Op. 35 1,2
The Isle of the Dead, Op. 29 2
Symphonic Dances, Op. 45
Sergei Taneyev: Cantata “John of Damascus”, Op. 12

Marina Mescheriakova, soprano
Sergei Larin, tenor
Vladimir Chernov, baritone
Moscow State Chamber Choir
Russian National Orchestra/Mikhail Pletnev
Deutsche Grammophon 4779505 4CDs DDD

Rachmaninoff

Rachmaninoff anthology by Pletnev

This reissue assembles virtually all major symphonic works of Sergei Rachmaninoff in a 4-CD box – his three symphonies but also his symphonic poems The Rock, The Isle of the Dead, the Symphonic Dances and The Bells (the youth symphony and Prince Rostislav are missing, but instead a rarity from Sergei Taneyev, his cantata John of Damascus, Op. 1, is included as a bonus) and is available at a temptingly competitive price. The discs were recorded and released separately over a time span of almost seven years by Mikhail Pletnev and his Russian National Orchestra. Starting in 1993, it contains some of the pianist-turned-conductor’s earliest efforts on the rostrum.
Read the full review on Classical Net