Author Topic: Looking for a recommendation for a set of the Rachmaninov Piano Concertos  (Read 6082 times)

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Offline Irons

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You mustn't miss these two recordings:



For a complete set I've always liked the Earl Wild/Horenstein recordings.

Ashkenazy recorded Rach 3 three times for Decca. The first with Fistoulari (1963) is electric and in my view the best.

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Offline vandermolen

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Ashkenazy recorded Rach 3 three times for Decca. The first with Fistoulari (1963) is electric and in my view the best.
Yes, that's the one I meant.
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Offline Sergeant Rock

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But the first recording of the 2nd I heard and listened to repeatedly was the Richter/Karajan.

Wislocki is the conductor on the Richter Rach Second. Karajan conducts the Tchaikovsky.

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Offline vers la flamme

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As much as I love the Rachmaninov piano concerto recordings I already have (Rachmaninoff/Ormandy/Philadelphia, Richter/Wislocki/Warsaw, Cliburn/Reiner/Chicago, Horowitz/Reiner/RCA, and more)... now I want more  ;D

I am thinking of going with Ashkenazy as a complete set on account of his consistency and deep understanding of the composer’s idiom. The problem is that he has recorded the cycle multiple times. What is generally considered better, the Previn/London set or the Haitink/Concertgebouw? I’ve only heard bits of the latter but enjoyed it a lot. I also want the earlier disc he did with concertos 2 and 3, with Fistoulari. Love what I heard of this one.

Other recordings I’m interested in include:

Bronfman/Salonen/Philharmonia (this recording of concertos 2 and 3 was plagiarized by Joyce Hatto, and her “performance” received rapturous reviews before the scandal broke, so now I want to hear the original)

Idil Biret/Wit/Polish NRSO (for love of the pianist, conductor, orchestra, and label)

Nikolai Lugansky/Oramo/CBSO (love what I’ve heard of Mr. Lugansky’s Rachmaninov)

Daniil Trifonov/Yannick Nezet Seguin/Philadelphia (the “next big thing” of piano virtuosi/Rach interpreters...? Plus, the Philadelphia was the composer’s favorite orchestra...)

Byron Janis/Dorati/London (for love of Mercury Living Presence)

That about covers it for now... any opinions on these or other great Rachmaninov recordings?

Offline Jo498

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I am not the greatest fan of these works (my favorite is the Paganini variations) but the Ashkenazy/Haitink was recommended to me and it seems quite good in very good (early digital) sound.
I also have the Janis/Dorati 2+3. This is more lively and the "raw" sound of Mercury might not be for everyone but it also helps with avoiding sentimentality. Then I have 1+4+Paganini with Berezovsky and the Ural? orchestra because this was supposed to be the "most Russian" of more recent recordings. No idea, if this is the case. I liked these as well but overall I am not invested sufficiently in the music to bother getting their 2+3.
Another good one (I have #2+Paganini) that is fleet and not wallowing (maybe not enough for some) is Koscis. This is also a cheap twofer now, I think.
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Offline bluto32

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I am thinking of going with Ashkenazy as a complete set on account of his consistency and deep understanding of the composer’s idiom. The problem is that he has recorded the cycle multiple times. What is generally considered better, the Previn/London set or the Haitink/Concertgebouw? I’ve only heard bits of the latter but enjoyed it a lot. I also want the earlier disc he did with concertos 2 and 3, with Fistoulari. Love what I heard of this one.

I have all these Ashkenazy discs. (I heard him play some Rachmaninov live 20 years ago and was blown away.)

The old 2&3 set recorded in the early 60s with Kondrashin/Fistoulari is marvellous albeit in typical 60s analogue sound with more hiss than the 70s Previn set. It also appears to be OOP along with other “Decca Legends” CDs.

Of the full cycles:
#1: Similar in both sets, but absolutely electrifying opening bars in the Haitink from both piano and orchestra. Hair-raisingly good!

#2 and #4: Not much to choose between the two. I prefer the digital sound of the Haitink.

#3: The Previn is a considerably slower recording, particularly in the first movement. I prefer the orchestral playing in the Haitink (Concertgebouw) but find Ashkenazy’s interpretation more memorable with the Previn.


Offline Wanderer

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Quite surprised no-one mentioned the remarkable Earl Wild set...

I did mention it.

Offline George

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I did mention it.

And I will happily second it. I have it on three separate Chesky CDs.
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Offline vers la flamme

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I have all these Ashkenazy discs. (I heard him play some Rachmaninov live 20 years ago and was blown away.)

The old 2&3 set recorded in the early 60s with Kondrashin/Fistoulari is marvellous albeit in typical 60s analogue sound with more hiss than the 70s Previn set. It also appears to be OOP along with other “Decca Legends” CDs.

Of the full cycles:
#1: Similar in both sets, but absolutely electrifying opening bars in the Haitink from both piano and orchestra. Hair-raisingly good!

#2 and #4: Not much to choose between the two. I prefer the digital sound of the Haitink.

#3: The Previn is a considerably slower recording, particularly in the first movement. I prefer the orchestral playing in the Haitink (Concertgebouw) but find Ashkenazy’s interpretation more memorable with the Previn.

Thanks. I ended up getting a couple of Ashkenazy CDs: the Haitink/RCO with Concerto 1 and the Paganini Rhapsody, which is excellent, and the four concertos with Previn/LSO, which I’ve not heard yet aside from bits and pieces. I love how Ashkenazy plays the beginning of the Concerto 2, different from any other I’ve heard.

Offline bluto32

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Yes, he has a distinctive style when opening concerto #2. I think I read somewhere that his hands are not quite big enough for the huge chords at the start, which is why he "rolls" into them. Whatever the reason, I've always liked it.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2020, 10:45:26 AM by bluto32 »

Offline vers la flamme

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Yes, he has a distinctive style when opening concerto #2. I think I read somewhere that his hands are note quite big enough for the huge chords at the start, which is why he "rolls" into them. Whatever the reason, I've always liked it.

I've heard it said that if a pianist has small hands, he or she must have absolutely impeccable pedaling technique to pull off any Rachmaninov. The music of course was written with the composer's massive span in mind. Frankly I'm surprised that so many pianists out there have even tried recording the concertos of Rachmaninov. I haven't heard the vast majority of them, but I question how many are successful.

Offline Mirror Image

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I've heard it said that if a pianist has small hands, he or she must have absolutely impeccable pedaling technique to pull off any Rachmaninov. The music of course was written with the composer's massive span in mind. Frankly I'm surprised that so many pianists out there have even tried recording the concertos of Rachmaninov. I haven't heard the vast majority of them, but I question how many are successful.

Where there’s a will, there's a way.

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Offline Marc

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Where there’s a will, there's a way.

True that.
Even Harpo Marx managed to deliver an intense Rachmaninov.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaZZRfx89W0

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/QaZZRfx89W0" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/QaZZRfx89W0</a>
« Last Edit: February 01, 2020, 12:14:37 PM by Marc »
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Offline Roasted Swan

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