Save some $ money! Get the newer January 2006 reissue set i
J. West | Flower Mound, TX United States | 05/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At the time of this review, whenever you search for a phrase such as "Rachmaninoff Complete", amazon's search engine always lands on this out-of-print recording (ASIN: B000003FB7) . It's also no fun to see that it costs more than a hundred bucks! But if you type "B000A2AD2S" in the search box, you'll see the new reissued set for half the price. It's the exact same 10 CDs. Just the cover art is different.
Unfortunately, this situation is a common pattern with amazon's listing of classical music: when you use your intuition and type in common-sense search phrases for Bach, Mozart, etc, you often get the ultra-expensive out-of-print ships-in-4-weeks items as the default item. It takes a lot of detective work to find the newer reissue recordings. For example, to find the new reissue without knowing the ASIN, I had to enter just "Rachmaninoff" in the search text (deliberately left the word "Complete" out of the search) so it would no longer lock me into this item page that you're looking at and give me a full listing instead. I then sorted the listing by "Original Release Date" and found it on the 2nd page. There's no picture on the new item which doesn't give you any confidence that you found the right one. Don't worry, B000A2AD2S is what you want.
For product research, it's good to have both ASIN product listings because the older out-of-print B000003FB7 has the sound samples (and also all the helpful customer reviews) while the new B000A2AD2S has the better price and availability.
To make things even more confusing, the amazon staff sometimes copies entire customer reviews to the new item which would then make THIS review seem strangely out of place. If that happens and I notice it, I will delete this review for B000003FB7.
(In another strange twist, amazon searches in rock/pop usually points you to the newer cheaper remastered/repackaged/reissued/whatever of a particular recording. I don't know why it works the opposite way in classical music?!?!)
An invaluable Legacy by a pianistic legend of 20th Century
Andrew West | 12/01/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Quite simply a must for any serious collector of legendary performers from the past, this collection contains the entire recorded legacy of Sergei Rachmaninoff, considered by many to be one of the greatest if not "the" greatest pianist of our century. Containing outstanding recording notes as well as a full discography, this box set features not only brilliant individual interpretations of selected works of Rachmaninoff played imitiably by the composer but also outstanding performances of Chopin's B-flat minor sonata and Schumann's Carnaval. Although the recorded sound varies greatly from performance to performance, these interpretations will always remain an remarkable document of the Golden Age of Pianism which includes such illustrius names as Paderewski, Rosenthal, Hofmann, etc. At this budget price offered by RCA Gold Seal, it should be acquired by any serious lover of piano before it goes out of print."
6, or Even 7 Stars!
BLee | HK | 06/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
Hofmann hit the nail on the head when he said Rachmaninov had "arms of steel and heart of gold". From this album, we can have a clear picture of Rachmaninov's vison of music, of his musical mind and thoughts and moreover his own playing.
While Kempff's playing would often remind of the protestant church music, Rachmaninov bring to our mind the chanting of the Orthodox church, which is much thicker and darker. On top of that, his playing is orchestral which is so powerful and full colours. Yet, it is nothing like Richter, where often the whole piece is just one phrase.
Here each piece has it's own life and identity each with a focal point. It is water tight compact and yet very much natural and alive, never as hair-raising as Horowitz. But, it is not natural in Arrau's way. It is somewhere in between, closer to Argerich but with more consistency and depth. And like Casals' playing, it keeps our attention from the first note up to its focal point until its very end. But unlike Casals, he touches our hearts. It is very emotional but never to the point of being sentimental-- the performance of his own concertos, for example, can tell you that.
Sure, he did have fingers of steel that helped him to bring out whatever colour or atmostphere as appropriate. And despite that fact that there are some minor alterations on the scores like his Chopin, he is one of the few pianists who could really show you every note on the score counts and, above all, how it counts...
His Chopin may not be as neurotic as Cortot. Nonetheless, he sheds light on the dark and nervous side of Chopin so well: a very throbbing interpretation that is so unique. We also have him accompanying Kreisler on some violin sonatas, something that one could turn to time and again, year after year. What a great chamber musician and accompanist he was...!
The recorded sound of the CDs do vary, and some are more acceptable than the others. But for genuine music lovers, they should be able to get over this very soon: how else would they benefit from one of the greatest legacies of a genuinely great musician!