Rachmaninov's opus 1, his first piano concerto, deserves to be heard more often. The opening bars have that heroic sound that raises the hair on the back of the neck. Indeed those first moments rank alongside those of the Grieg and Tchaikovsky piano concertos for their ability to thrill. Ashkenazy's breathtaking playing on a superb piano is matched by that of the Concertgebouw Orchestra under Haitink's direction.
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.
Following their album of French music for two pianos, father and son Vladimir and Vovka Ashkenazy revel in their musical heritage with this dazzling programme by the great composers of Russia, with Rachmaninov's two-piano Suite No.1 at its heart. Three of the works have been arranged by Vovka Ashkenazy himself, including Mussorgsky's Night On The Bald Mountain and the album's virtuosic finale - Borodin's Polovtsian Dances from his opera Prince Igor. His two-piano arrangement of Glinka's lilting Valse-fantaisie is itself based on Sergei Lyapunov's arrangement for four hands. The two works originally written for two pianos are Rachmaninov's poetic Suite no 1, Op. 5 "Fantaisie Tableaux" (which the young composer dedicated to another giant of Russian music - Piotr Tchaikovsky) and the Fantasy in A minor by Rachmaninov's contemporary at the Moscow Conservatoire, Scriabin.
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.
There's no question about pianist Kateryna Titova's technique in her debut recital, and a good thing, too, since the program consists entirely of works by Rachmaninov, the composer of some of the most transcendentally difficult piano music of the fin de siècle. But no matter what the Russian composer asks for – be it the tumults of notes that open the Allegro agitato of his Second Piano Sonata, the ethereal ostinatos that start the Prélude in G minor, the monumental sonorities that fill the Prélude in C sharp minor, or the feathery arabesques that saturate the composer's transcription of Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee – the young Ukrainian-born, German-based pianist nails them all.
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.