Author Topic: 1977 Vasary, Ahronovich, LSO Rachmaninov-Piano Concerto No.4  (Read 1186 times)

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Offline Scion7

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1977 Vasary, Ahronovich, LSO Rachmaninov-Piano Concerto No.4
« on: March 11, 2012, 02:03:07 AM »
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Didn't get the LP of this one - just a download from either Tower or eMusic - I forget.
This ended the glorious cycle that Vasary and Ahronovich did with the London Symphony Orchestra.

            from Gramophone:

RACHMANINOV. Piano Concerto No. 4 in  g-minor, Op. 40. Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op. 43.
Tamâs Vãsáry (piano), London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Yuri Ahronovich. D6 2530 905 (395).
Usually people talk as if the big gap in the sequence of Rachmaninov's works for piano and orchestra came between Concerto No. 4 (1926) and the Rhapsody (1934), whereas it is between Concerto No. 3 (1909) and No. 4. Most listeners seem to think this latter should have been a continuation of Concertos Nos. 2 and 3, which it could not be. Much had happened to people like Rachmaninov and the things they stood for between 1909 and 1926, and it would have been irresponsible, if not impossible, merely to echo the bygone romanticism. Clearly he wanted and needed to write something different, and is never given the credit for having succeeded.
that this music's terseness should have misled us all. The romantic melodies tend, for example, to be cut off abruptly, as at the lush passage beginning two bars after fig. 21 which, against all expectation, lasts only four bars. Procedures typical of the earlier Concertos are almost satirized, as at fig. 22 where one of those alternating-hands chordal passages that formerly signalled a slam-bang finish here diminuendos into something quite different. Few virtuosos have been able to respond properly to such things, but Vasáry's is a far more serious performance than the recent Orozco/de Waart (reviewed on page 1088) and, with its clear, cool, clean recording, can stand with the established versions of Ashkenazy (on Decca) and Michelangeli (HMV Concert Classics SXLP30 169, 9/74).
As with Ashkenazy and Previn, there is some very searching collaboration between Vásáry and Ahronovich, as at, say, figs. 10-12, with an exact placing of significant orchestral detail. Ahronovich draws a beautifully hushed sound from the strings in the Largo during their dialogues with the piano, and here Ashkenazy and Previn (with the same orchestra) also display a fine mutual sympathy. Vhsáry does not take the finale at quite so murderous a pace as Ashkenazy or Michelangeli, yet there is again some thoughtful work by all concerned in the DG recording, for example between figs. 57 and 61. However, it Is impossible to imagine Michelangeli being surpassed, or even equalled, in this magically brilliant closing movement with its hurtling, toccata-like figuration.
Far less need be said about the Rhapsody, which is better understood than Concerto No. 4 because more often heard. All concerned on both discs sound fully committed to the work and one could be entirely happy with either version, even if some might prefer the rather warmer Decca sound. Certainly one should be grateful to both teams for making it clear just how inventive this music is.

Especial perception is evident in Vasary's response to the oblique and subtle challenges of the disconcertingly elliptical Concerto No. 4. Ahronovich's exact focus on unobtrusively significant orchestral detail is here especially praiseworthy, and DG's fairly cool, slightly distanced recording seems particularly apt for this enigmatic work. In the Rhapsody, also, the very clear recording leaves us in no doubt as to how orchestrally inventive this score is.

« Last Edit: March 11, 2012, 02:06:27 AM by Scion7 »
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