Santiago Rodriguez - Concert Pianist, Silver Medallist, VI Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Professor of Piano, University of Maryland Santiago Rodriguez has been called “a phenomenal pianist” (The New York Times) and “among the finest pianists in the world” (The Baltimore Sun). He performs internationally with leading orchestras, including the London Symphony, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Weimar Philharmonic, the Yomiuri-Nippon Symphony Orchestra of Japan, the Seoul Symphony Orchestra, the Tampere Philharmonic of Finland, the Berliner Symphoniker, the Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, Seattle, Indianapolis, American Composers’, and Houston Symphony Orchestras, the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C., and the American Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall in New York...
In celebration of their twentieth anniversary, this essential release from Praga focuses on the artistry of the great Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter. In an all-Rachmaninov program, Richter is heard in the first two Piano Concertos accompanied by the great conductor Kurt Sanderling in live performances recorded in the 50s - well before he began touring internationally. Praga's hybrid SACD pairs remastered monophonic recordings of the concertos with four of Richter's favorite Preludes recorded in stereo during his first tour of North America in 1960. Praga has employed the best of today's cutting-edge restoration techniques to present these important historical recordings in all their original glory.
A majority of well-known composers have written at least a few chamber compositions in their entire lifetime. The most famous would have to be Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and probably Prokofiev. Some, including Respighi and Vaughan Williams, are overlooked or even rejected in today's society. Whether it's because of lack of originality or excessive complexities, these sorts of compositions are always left in the dark. Take Rachmaninov's Cello Sonata, for instance. This 35-minute work doesn't receive the complete recognition it deserves. It's overshadowed by the composer's piano concertos and symphonies, all of which are respectfully first-rate works in their own right.
Often named the supreme pianist of his era, Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997) was a poet of the keyboard and an enigmatic, sometimes eccentric figure. These 24 CDs span three centuries of music – repertoire for solo piano and piano duo, chamber music, song and concerto – and bring Richter together with other great artists of his time. As the New York Times wrote, his pianism “combined astonishing technical mastery with bold, wide-ranging musical imagination. His control over the colorings of piano tone was incomparable.”
There are many factors that contribute to a great and worthwhile album; the actual performance (in this case by orchestra and soloist) is obviously important, but also significant is recorded sound quality, programming, interesting and informative liner notes, and (although less important) nice packaging doesn't hurt, either. This CD of Rachmaninov's First and Fourth piano concertos and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini gives listeners all of these things. The liner notes provide an exceptionally useful timeline highlighting the chronology of two concertos, showing where revisions were made and when the final version emerged relative to the initial sketches. The Orchestre Philharmonique de l'Oural does a superb job of providing a lush and sensual backdrop for all three works heard here.
Two books of Debussy’s piano preludes were composed in 1910 and 1913, respectively. Unlike similar opuses by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin and others, they had no tonal sequence, and each piece was conceived as an individual work. In whole, the cycle is a sort of concise encyclopedia of the great French composer’s music with its fanciful and sophisticated, but so imperceptibly attractive combination of romanticism and impressionism, centuries-old traditions of piano music and cultural paradoxes of the 20th century. The titles Debussy gave to each of the preludes (they are sooner poetic metaphors) are put in the end rather than in the beginning of the notes and not intended to impose a certain character on the listener. Instead, they seem to ask riddles as if they check whether the mood of a piece is caught correctly. Debussy’s preludes found a fine and thoughtful interpreter in the person of Alexei Lyubimov.
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli's classic recordings of the Ravel G major and Rachmaninov G minor concertos have never been out of the catalog since they first appeared more than 40 years ago. Surface and style are one in this music, and the Italian pianist remains unsurpassed for his icy precision and micro-detailing. He brings pinpointed elan to Rachmaninov's sizzling cross-rhythms in the Fourth Concerto's Allegro Vivace movement, as well as laser-like concentration to the tartly lush Largo. Few have matched Michelangeli's nuance and color in the Ravel concerto, and his seamless dispatch of Ravel's "singing sword" effect in the opening movement belies the notion that you can't bend notes on a piano.