In your opinion, how does The "Rach TWO" ...

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Lance
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In your opinion, how does The "Rach TWO" ...

Post by Lance » Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:08 am

... with Gary Graffman, the NYP and Leonard Bernstein stack up with other recordings you know of this work, either from an emotional point of view or from a technical - or both?

I have always been an admirer of Graffman, from his early long-deleted LPs for RCA and right into those he did for Columbia, I recently gave his work a listen. which is coupled with the Paganini Rhapsody.

I've always felt the Lazar Berman/Abbado recording on Sony was about the best I've ever heard, even those of Horowitz. Graffman's seems to be quite a different rendering, concentrating on the inner voices of the work rather than the virtuosity (though that is very much there as well).

This was on LP in two releases: MS 6634 and M 31813, and on CD as 36722 in Sony's budget-priced "Great Performance" series.

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Post by Wallingford » Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:22 am

Let me cast my vote here for a long, LONG gone RCA Camden LP by Kjell Baekkelund, with Oivin Fjeldstad & the Oslo Philharmonic. About as youthful & fresh-sounding as you can get. (AND, never rereleased.)
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Post by Guest » Sat Apr 16, 2005 4:06 am

IMO, Cliburn/Reiner/CSO and Bolet/Dutoit/Montreal, leave Graffman/Bernstein/NYP groveling in the dust.

Would've loved to hear what Hiorowitz/Toscanini/NBC would have done with that one. But the "Maestro" and Rachmaninoff didn't see eye to eye on too many topics. I can't remember EVER hearing/reading about a Toscanini performance of anything by Rachmaninoff.

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Post by Guest » Sat Apr 16, 2005 4:10 am

Well, Lance - you got your answer.

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Post by Febnyc » Sat Apr 16, 2005 11:16 am

This work is so great (as is the 3rd concerto) that I find it hard to make comparisons - every performance strikes me as "emotional". I've heard the Graffman/Bernstein and it is fine. Any pluses or minuses vis-a-vis another recording are so slight as to be insignificant. Between me and this concerto it is a Will Rogers sort of relationship - I've never met a performance I didn't like.

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Post by pizza » Sat Apr 16, 2005 3:38 pm

I still prefer Kapell/Steinberg/Robinhood Dell (Philadelphia O.) from 1950. The recording is mono of course, and there is some congestion in the louder passages and climaxes, but the performance is electrifying. For those who prefer CDs, there's a fine transfer on Naxos by Mark Obert-Thorne.

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Post by MaestroDJS » Sat Apr 16, 2005 3:49 pm

Febnyc wrote:Between me and this concerto it is a Will Rogers sort of relationship - I've never met a performance I didn't like.
Agreed. There are so many good recording which bring out different facets of this work. The Graffman/NY Phil/Bernstein version is indeed very good. However, in my CD collection I opted for the two stereo recordings made by Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra: with Artur Rubinstein in 1955 and Van Cliburn in 1962. I also have a fine LP version by Vladimir Ashkenazy and the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by André Previn. In mono it is positively Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra with Sergei Rachmaninoff himself as soloist in 1929.

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Febnyc
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Post by Febnyc » Sat Apr 16, 2005 6:33 pm

All great recommendations.

Another one - and maybe a sleeper of sorts - is the Gina Bachauer/Strasbourg PO on RCA. (It's coupled with, what else?, the Tchaikovsky Concerto 1 by Pascal Devoyon/Philharmonia/Dutoit). Excellent recording which doesn't get much press.

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Post by Barry » Sat Apr 16, 2005 7:29 pm

My two favorites are Rubinstein/Reiner and the Richter DG recording.

If I've heard the Graffman, it was years ago.

Speaking of Graffman, it's been announced that he'll be giving up his job as head (not sure if he's called President or something else) of the Curtis Institute. He's going to be replaced by Roberto Diaz, the principal violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Based on what I've read about Diaz, I suspect he'll do a great job, but he won't be easy to replace for the Orchestra. He's a great one.
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Post by GK » Sat Apr 16, 2005 10:36 pm

I agree that the two Reiners are the best with the Cliburn getting the nod over the Rubenstein. I also like Bronfman/Salonen. The Graffman/Bernstein is very ordinary.

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Post by Lance » Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:27 am

GK wrote:I agree that the two Reiners are the best with the Cliburn getting the nod over the Rubenstein. I also like Bronfman/Salonen. The Graffman/Bernstein is very ordinary.
Hmm ... GK, I sit here smiling as I read your response, sipping my "green tea" at this late hour. (A clue, however: I think we share similar interests and thoughts pianistically!)

I am somewhat surprised, though, that no one has mentioned certain names, such as Moiseiwitsch (2 recordings) (who knew Rachmaninoff), Brailowsky, Cziffra, Janis, Lympany, Wild/Horenstein, John Ogdon, and several others.
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Post by Kevin R » Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:29 am

I'm in complete agreement with Pizza concerning the Kapell. I've not heard a better performance.

I also like the Janis, Wild, and Ashkenazy.

Cziffra's recording (with his son) is strange. The first two movements are slow (the first time I heard it I thought something was wrong with the player). But the third movement is absolutely electrifying. Worth a listen for the adventurous.
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Post by Guest » Sun Apr 17, 2005 5:18 am

Lang Lang doesn't seem to be doing too well, here...

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Post by mahlerfan » Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:12 pm

Cliburn/Reiner and Ashkenazy/Kondrashin. If the sound was better I would include the historic Rach recording.

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Post by CharmNewton » Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:19 pm

While I haven't heard the Graffman/Bernstein recording in 15 years, I remember liking it very much then and was also impressed by the excellent quality of the recording.

Right now, I really love the Zimerman/Ozawa recording on DG, which combines poetry, fire and awesome recorded sound. I'm looking forward to hearing Lang Lang's recording. Like Zimerman, His technical command enables incredible expressiveness (for example, his reading of Chopin's D-flat Major Nocturne on his Carnegie Hall recital disc).

John

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