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Rachmaninoff: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4; Rhapsody On A Them

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4; Rhapsody On A Them

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Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto was composed while he was a student at the Moscow Conservatoire, then fully reworked before he left Russia in 1917 and again in 1919. It is hard to explain why it never achieved a higher level of popularity – it has all of the melodic beauty, passion and brilliance found throughout the composer’s music. The Fourth Piano Concerto was much revised after harsh criticism at its premiere but it occupies a unique place in Rachmaninoff’s oeuvre, showing a progression from lush Romanticism towards the muscular transparency of his later works. The electrifying Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is a concerto in all but name – the work’s sense of fun and demonic bravura has ensured its place among the most-loved and often performed works for piano and orchestra.


Eager and grandiose in this performance, the Piano Concerto No. 1 (final version) is given an absorbing account, Boris Giltburg in dynamic form, very ably supported by the detailed Brussels Philharmonic and Vassily Sinaisky, a reading of shapely flexibility and quixotic zeal. But the big test comes with the opening of the underestimated Fourth Concerto (second revision) and the clarity needed for the complex scoring to register fully; pretty good, maybe in need of just a tad more presence from the woodwinds… overall though a distinguished rendition, energetic (fabulous finger-work from Giltburg in the Finale), impassioned, supple, and savored.

As for Paganini Rhapsody, this is one of the best, a zesty incident-packed (but not attention-seeking) palate-cleanser. Excellent sound and production values complete a notable issue.

-- Colin's Column (Colin Anderson)

This is Boris Giltburg’s folowup to his previously released accounts of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 with Carlos Miguel Prieto and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. These accounts of the First and Fourth Concertos and the Paganini Rhapsody complete a handsome survey of the works for piano and orchestra that you will want to include in your CD library.

-- Audio Visual Club of Atlantz (Phil Muse)

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
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    • UPC/Barcode: 747313452873
    • Item Number: 8574528