This magnificent collection spans almost half a century, from three of Rachmaninov's Op 39 Etudes-Tableaux that Vladimir Ashkenazy recorded in 1963, to his version of the First Sonata, which was released two years ago. It's wonderfully comprehensive, including the four piano concertos and the Paganini Rhapsody, the works for two pianos (the Suites and the Symphonic Dances with André Previn, some smaller-scale pieces with Ashkenazy's son Vovka), and all manner of occasional pieces and transcriptions as well as the major solo piano works.
Mats Lidström is that rare thing, an original musician. The sheer mercurial energy which drives his performances can be both engaging and disturbing, but there is always a searching intelligence at work. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra lost much when its compelling, if unpredictable, lead cellist departed. These two concertos show him at his persuasive best, bringing lesser known works to life. Kabalevsky’s 1964 Concerto stretches and yawns with slow pizzicato before springing into urgent life. Sub-Shostakovich in its motifs and tonality, it is nevertheless well-constructed and uses the saxophone to great effect. In both Allegro movements Lidström achieves a lightning speed and attack and, though Raphael Wallfisch’s recording on Nimbus has a more solid beauty of tone, the Swede’s nervous anticipation makes up for the thinner sound of his Grancino cello. Khachaturian’s 1946 Concerto would make a wonderful soundtrack to a cinematic faux-Oriental extravaganza, with its twisting major and minor intervals, and almost sleazy chromaticism. Lidström really knows how to swing, and makes the most of the memorable melodies.
Noriko Ogawa and the Malmö Symphony Orchestra return to the works of Rachmaninov with a disc featuring his first and fourth piano concertos and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Rachmaninov’s first concerto was written while he was a student at the Moscow Concervatory, but underwent considerable revisions up to 1917.
Rachmaninov’s rarely heard, and unfinished opera, Monna Vanna is recorded here in a newer edition by Gennadi Belov and led by Vladimir Ashkenazy, an iconic artist and expert in Russian music. This recording of Monna Vanna is a world première recording of the sung Russian version – the language in which Rachmaninov originally intended the opera to be performed.
The Rachmaninov Piano Concertos performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy and the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by André Previn are among the most iconic recordings in the Decca Classics catalogue. For the first time in over 40 years, the recordings have been remastered in ultra-high quality 96kHz 24-bit audio at Abbey Road Studios.
Legendary Russian pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy is considered the pre-eminent interpreter of Rachmaninov’s music, and as he marked his seventy-fifth birthday (6 July 2012), he recorded a final album of the composer’s music featuring the Seven Pieces (Moments Musicaux) Op.10, three Nocturnes, and ten shorter early works, including an unpublished 'Song without Words'.
Ashkenazy Completes Lifelong Project To Record Each Of Rachmaninov’s Works With Piano. Vladimir Ashkenazy, one of the most renowned and revered pianists of our times, crowns his lifelong project to record each of Rachmaninov’s works with piano with the release of Rachmaninov Piano Trios. He performs the composer’s Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor and the Trio élégiaque No. 2 in D minor Op. 9.
Vladimir Ashkenazy's love of Rachmaninov's music is evident not only on the keyboard, but also at the podium. His conducting of Rachmaninov's music is absolutely first rate, with an ample mix of passion and precision. I am certain that these fine recordings undoubtedly helped raise his stature as a noteworthy conductor. Under his direction, Bernard Haitink's Concertgebouw Orchestra gives distinguished, technically perfect performances steeped in emotion. Their level of playing is superior to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra's under Lorin Maazel's baton (Maazel and the BPO recorded a set of Rachmaninov's symphonies for Deutsche Grammophon around the time of Ashkenazy's recordings.). The best performance of Ashkenazy's Rachmaninov cycle has to be that of the Second Symphony, but the others, especially those of the tone poems, are almost as good too. Of course, Decca's sound engineers did a wonderful job capturing the Concertgebouw's (the orchestra's hall, that is) warm acoustics. If these aren't the definitive recordings of Rachmaniov's symphonies, then they ought to be.
These performances were recorded in the early 1980s when the Berlin Philharmonic was still very much Herbert von Karajan's orchestra (though their relationship had begun to deteriorate).