Best performance of piece
C.F.Weterings | Leiden, Netherlands | 12/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In my opinion the best possible performance of this piece. Not as slow as a (possibly more popular) von Karajan version and definitely not as fast as Rachmaninoff's self. Haitink's speciality is Mahler, and you can tell. On this track you will find subtlety and depth of a Mahler symphony, placed in the frivolous setting of Russian fin-de-siecle romance. A definite must have!"
Good Sound, Great Finish
Ed Luhrs | Long Island, NY USA | 03/08/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Diehard fans of Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto can tell you about the ins and outs of several recordings; my guess is that there are over two dozen that you could get your hands on if you try. Chances are, if you're looking at this performance, you're comparing it with other versions. I have only heard three. This was my first. Then I heard the Ashenazy/Previn version featured in the complete concertos set. Then I heard the Argerich/Chailly version. I'm open to hearing more. So far, I like listening to this performance and Argerich's performance. In this version, Ashenazy's approach is conservative. He builds his climaxes with a measured understanding of what one could call the "architectural grandeur" of the piece. One caveat: the last three minutes of the performance sizzle. Bernard Haitink and the Concertgebouw provide great accompaniment to Ashenazy's playing throughout, yet the combined energies of orchestra and soloist come through in an absolutely thrilling finale. Those who have heard twelve or thirteen performances will doubtlessly know of better endings. I can't imagine hearing any version that will change my mind on how brilliantly this one concludes.Argerich's version concludes somewhat impetuously. Yet what Ashkenazy brings to the last three minutes here, she brings to the first 37 minutes or so in her recording. She plays with unbelievable intensity and sweet grace, like a gypsy goddess. He is the standard bearer. She refuses to be too restrained. He refuses to be too sloppy. Only in Utopia can you hear a performance by Martha Ashenazy; in the mean time, I'd recommend hearing more than one version of this concerto. This recording seems like a great place to start because it is conventional. In my opinion, it tops Ashkenazy's box set version with Previn, largely due to the orchestral sound and the way it wraps up."
Excellent; Ashkenazy's 2nd Best 3rd
C.F.Weterings | 10/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording from the mid 1980s, while slightly surpassed by other Rachmaninov 3rds (such as Ashkenazy's own 1970s recording, Martha Argerich's on Philips, and Earl Wild's on Chandos/Chesky), still offers formidable qualities in the crowded field of good and excellent recordings of this concerto.Ashkenazy's 1970s 3rd (also on Decca with Andre Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra) is slightly more rousing musically. This recording, however, is definitely the better-recorded of the two. The Decca recording is first rate, even among other Decca recordings. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Bernard Haitink are equally up to the task and offer an inspired and strong accompaniment in this rendering.This recording offers no filler piece. The shorter duration should not deter the listener, though. I would urge a collector to purchase this recording and the older Rachmaninov 3rd of Ashkenazy to have a complete sampling of this great pianist's interpretations of this great piano concerto."