Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Sergey Rachmaninov, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Cleveland Orchestra|
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2; Paganini Rhapsody
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Very good! If you want a starter cd of Rach, get this one!
grok_ | 10/01/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Thibaudet is a fresh addition to the many recordings of Rach. I also own Cliburn and Ashkenazy recordings, and feels this adds a nice variety to the mix. The Paganini is outstanding, with the winds really stealing the show. Sonics are superb, as well as the feel for the hall's acoutsics. You will not feel cheated at all by this recording. On average, a must own!"
Not quite there
grok_ | San Diego, CA United States | 04/24/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Every review should begin with a disclaimer that reads "part of the enjoyment of listening to classical music is comparing performances for discernable differences." I have yet to encounter a classical CD that was worthless, either on the merits of performance or for sonic reasons. Some listeners like precision; others prefer passion. Some like a warm sound; others prefer crisp, detailed sonics.When I purchased this CD, I was looking for a digital recording of the Rhapsody. Since Ashkenazy conducted the Rach symphonies superlatively, and since he played Rach's piano concertos so well (my favorite renditions), this performance appeared to be a sure thing. So, why wasn't it? Well, this is where the disclaimer comes in. To me, the performance was competent, but there was no passion. Both the concerto and the rhapsody should be emotional roller coasters that take your heart into the depths and then soar with exhilaration. As a pianist, Ashkenazy (with Previn conducting) took us on that ride. He was articulate and yet passionate. Thibaudet is certainly accurate, but where is the fire? These recordings present us with less of a roller coaster and more of a Sunday drive.This digital Decca release does not disappoint with regard to sonic engineering. There is a nice balance between piano and orchestra. The clarity and dynamic range are superb. The soundstage is huge. The piano sounds considerably better sonically than that played by Ashkenazy, and the brass avoids the edge present in earlier Decca recordings.This is not a bad performance; it helps clarify why others are preferred. As impressed as I am with the sonic quality of this release, I think I will listen more frequently to the analog recordings of Ashkenazy/Previn and Entremont/Ormandy for a while longer."
Impressive On Every Level
Christopher | Wengen-en-esprit | 03/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a pianist, I have found Ashkenazy's interpretations to piano works to be the closest with what I read. His recordings have always awed and inspired me.
That said, I had never heard anything coming from him as a conductor, so I had my (vague) concerns. I was pretty young when I first heard Jean-Yves Thibaudet play those twenty chords that lead you directly into Rachmaninov's 2nd concerto. And I've listened to this piece a hundred times since then. There are simply no words for this interpretation.
I *can* compare to Mr. Ashkenazy's version since I own them too. (I highly recommend the 6 CD Ashkenazy/Previn Rachmaninov collection.) While Ashkenazy plays the 1st, 3rd, and 4th concertos to my liking, Thibaudet's rendition of the 2nd is somewhat more grand...perhaps because sections are played just a little slower in the first movement.
Bravo, I say! Can't let Ashkenazy get too carried away like he does on his recording (and perhaps Previn pushed for it). But the man is a genius in his own right. I love everything he does.
For those keen on the recording, this album is extremely well done. The piano is lively and bright, and I can recognize the distinct Steinway softness -- Thibaudet plays a Steinway Hamburg D, an 8' 11 ¾" grand. It balances perfectly with the orchestra and is neither drowned nor overpowering. The orchestra is lush and slightly dark. Very well done.
And importantly in today's digital age: if this recording has within-movement digital splices, they are so well concealed, I don't believe they are even there. Also, Thibaudet does not make a single error. I cannot say this about many other pianists' recordings, unfortunately."