Rachmaninov Piano Concertos - which recording?

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erinmr
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Rachmaninov Piano Concertos - which recording?

Post by erinmr » Mon Aug 29, 2005 11:50 am

What do you think about Vladimir Ashkenazy playing the Rachmaninov Piano Concertos? What about the recordings of Rachmaninov himself playing? Who do you recommend and why do you recommend him/her?

Thanks, ~Erin

Peter Schenkman
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Post by Peter Schenkman » Mon Aug 29, 2005 1:19 pm

Many consider Rachmaninoff to have been the greatest pianist of the last century, an opinion I’m inclined to agree with and the recording he made of his concertos easily stand up to any. The whole set is available on the Naxos label for very little money. Earl Wild’s performance in more recent sound is very good as well. Vladimir Ashkenazy in his many recordings is OK, a very good pianist and musician but would hardly be my number one choice. In individual concertos the following is a good point of departure.

Concerto #1: Richter, Janis, Moiseiwitsch

Concerto #2: Richter, Rubinstein, Moiseiwitsch, Gieseking with Mengelberg (warts and all, the conductor makes all the difference in the world).

Concerto #3: Horowitz, Argerich, Janis, Weissenberg

Concerto #4: Michelangeli

Rhapsody: Rubinstein, Moiseiwitsch

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Holden Fourth
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Post by Holden Fourth » Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:34 pm

#1 Richter
#2 Richter,
#3 Gilels/Cluytens
#4 Michelangeli

The lot - Rachmaninov himself!

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Post by Peter Schenkman » Mon Aug 29, 2005 3:19 pm

I think that’s sort of what I said. I agree with the Gilels/Cluytens to the Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 3 addition, available on the Testament label with an equally convincing performance of the Saint-Saens Concerto No. 2.

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pizza
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Post by pizza » Mon Aug 29, 2005 4:23 pm

Despite the wretched sound, I would include Kapell/MacMillan/Toronto for Rach 3 on VAI; also his Rach 2 with Steinberg/Robin Hood Dell in better sound on RCA/BMG.

hautbois
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Post by hautbois » Tue Aug 30, 2005 4:17 am

On Teldec is Boris Berezovsky on Rach Piano Concert no.3 with Eliahu Inbal conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra. Very fine recording to check out.

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Post by Peter Schenkman » Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:43 am

Pizza wrote:….” Despite the wretched sound, I would include Kapell/MacMillan/Toronto for Rach 3 on VAI; also his Rach 2 with Steinberg/Robin Hood Dell in better sound on RCA/BMG.”

The Rachmaninoff Third Concerto from Toronto bad sound and all I would agree with, Kapell’s performance is one of the great ones, he played it for his Juilliard graduation and with any orchestra that would take the piece until his untimely death in 1953. And at the point in time that it was done (1948) very pianists with a North American base had little if anything to do with the work. The one huge exception to this rather blanket statement being Horowitz who played and recorded the work often. Rachmaninoff dedicated the Third Concerto to his close friend Josef Hofmann but Hofmann never performed it. The Second Concerto was the favorite on this side of the Atlantic and was played to death. In this era that trend has shifted and if anything the third receives more attention then the second. Kapell’s recording of the second concerto is good but his hyper-intense style works to greater advantage in number three.

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Jppiano
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A few others to consider.....

Post by Jppiano » Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:59 am

1: Zimerman
2. Kapell (live with Bernstein, 1951), Zimerman
3. Mogilevsky, Cliburn
4. Petrov

Sorry if there are any duplications....

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Post by MaestroDJS » Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:50 am

Artur Rubinstein made fine stereo recordings of Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1956, even though Rubinstein and Reiner did not particularly like each other. According to one story, Rubinstein was in fine form during the recording sessions for the Rhapsody, but wanted to redo various sections over and over. Sparks began to fly, some of which probably added to the excitement of the performance, until finally Reiner said, "We do not go into overtime for soloists." Rubinstein and Reiner never worked together again.

As to complete sets of the concerti, I would agree with the above comments about Vladimir Ashkenazy and the composer himself. Sergei Rachmaninoff was one of the greatest pianists of the 20th Century, and it would be hard to top him in his own music. Rachmaninoff said he was proud to leave behind definitive recordings of his major works, and he took great care for the best results. The Philadelphia Orchestra with Leopold Stokowski and Eugene Ormandy were ideal partners for the composer's recordings.

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BuKiNisT
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Post by BuKiNisT » Tue Aug 30, 2005 3:29 pm

Besides the performances by Rachmaninov himself (which hold the number one for me as well for most of the other posters here :)), the list would be as follows:

#1 - Richter
#2 - Richter
#3 - Horowitz, Gilels
#4 - i don't have a real opinion in which performance of this one to consider the best :)

I am not really fond of the performances by Ashkenazy... He might be a great pianist, but i don't think he really 'feels' Rachmaninov...
... And the performances by both Richter and Horowitz you can only admire.

daycart
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Post by daycart » Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:41 pm

#1 Richter, Rachmaninov
#2 Weissenberg, Richter
#3 Berman, Horowitz (from the 30's)
#4 Richter, Rachmaninov

Darryl
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Post by Darryl » Thu Sep 01, 2005 4:02 pm

No one listed Hough/Litton/DSO? This new set is outstanding.

Why do I recommend him? Because I live in Dallas? Because David Hurwitz says it's the best set ever? :lol:

Peter Schenkman
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Post by Peter Schenkman » Thu Sep 01, 2005 4:15 pm

Maybe there’s a reason for the omission. The Hough recording put up against many of those named is a non-starter. Hough is a very good pianist but not in this repertoire.

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Post by Huckleberry » Thu Sep 01, 2005 6:43 pm

No to Hough, fabulous though his technique is. Yes to Argerich and Shelley. And yes to the ancient Sir Ernest MacMillan recording.
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Darryl
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Post by Darryl » Sat Sep 03, 2005 8:24 pm

Peter Schenkman wrote:Maybe there’s a reason for the omission. The Hough recording put up against many of those named is a non-starter. Hough is a very good pianist but not in this repertoire.

Peter Schenkman
Thanks for clarifying things, Pete.

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Post by Cyril Ignatius » Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:55 pm

I'm sure this won't solve the question as to good recordings of the Rachmaninov concertos, but if you love them, as I do, it seems that you often prefer, at least for a while, whichever edition you were listening to as you came to know the concerto. At any rate, it takes some doing to adjust to a slightly different rendering.

Yefim Bronfman has great recordings of these concertos, and his performance of the Third with the Minnesota Orchestra at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis a few years ago brought the most thunderous and spontaneous applause I have ever witnessed live.

Volodos recording of the Third (with Berlin, I believe) is another fabulous one. That CD aslo has a series of Rachmaninov short solo pieces that are quite a treat.

Cyril Ignatius
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EC

Post by EC » Sat Sep 10, 2005 6:18 am

I guess the debates will never end. What I do recommend you get hold of is the Horowitz/Reiner recording of the Rach3. It's no longer available on catalogue, but worth searching for at second-hand CD places - there is definitely something special about this recording.

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Post by Holden Fourth » Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:14 pm

EC wrote:I guess the debates will never end. What I do recommend you get hold of is the Horowitz/Reiner recording of the Rach3. It's no longer available on catalogue, but worth searching for at second-hand CD places - there is definitely something special about this recording.
As Lance pointed out in a previous post (and maybe hasn't read this) this is now available on Naxos along with LvB5

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