Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Franz Liszt, Karol Szymanowski, Manuel de Falla|
Rubinstein Collection, Vol. 32
Listen to Samples
A Mixed Bag for Rubinstein Admirers
Hank Drake | Cleveland, OH United States | 09/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I don't think Rubinstein loved Liszt in the way he did Chopin or Brahms. He recorded only a handful of that composer's works, including two versions of Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1. As in the more well known stereo version, this recording has its virtues and drawbacks. There was a certain brio in Rubinstein's best playing which enabled the listener to overlook occasional technical shortcomings. There are a few of those shortcomings here--as in the descending repeated note motif which Rubinstein botches in both of his recordings. As in all too many recordings of this work, the infamous triangle passage is spotlit beyond all reason--it sounds as if the percussionist was standing right next to the microphone. For the most part, however, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's accompaniment is well balanced. A personal note: I was lucky enough to meet a cellist from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra was participated in this recording. During a take, he accidentally dropped his bow, which went clattering to the ground. The conductor, Antal Dorati, shot him a nasty look, and apologized to Rubinstein for his cellist's clumsiness. Rubinstein was characteristically gracious. "Oh, no. I don't mind at all. I didn't play it well in the last take, so the cellist did me a favor. Let's try it again!" Much of Rubinstein's sheer joy in his work comes across here. Nevertheless, the Richter/Kondrashin performance on Phillips still can't be bettered.Rubinstein was one of Karol Szymanowski's earliest champions, who in gratitude dedicated the Op. 50 Mazurkas to the pianist. During Rubinstein's middle period, he occasionally performed the Symphonie concertante. The pianist had some difficulty in communicating the work's diffuse harmonic structure to an audience, did not retain his enthusiasm about the piece, and eventually dropped it from his performances. He seems to have been instinctively right about the piece, as it has nearly disappeared from the active repertoire. The Los Angeles Philharmonic, under Alfred Wallenstein, provides a competent accompaniment. The sound is rather cramped and unpleasant here.Rubinstein was more enthusiastic about championing Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain. He made three recordings of the piece, including the early stereo version included here. Rubinstein's playing here is more alert and erotically charged than in his later version with Ormandy. The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, under Enrique Jorda, provides an idiomatic accompaniment. The sound here is well balanced and has impact, but remains a bit dry."