Generous music making and sound
Grady Harp | 04/13/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In comparing this with Kappell and Horowitz in this repertoire, the Penguin Guide criticized it for not taking enough interpretative risks but I'll take Bronfman's Rachmaninov Third over Horowitz's 1978 account any day. Pianistic accuracy and generous playing time have to count for something, not to mention superb sound quality. The sound on this disc really is luxurious, with a powerful dynamic range; the rich orchestral tapestry and decently recessed piano would provoke descriptions of these works as symphonies with piano obbligato except that Bronfman more than holds his own against the accompaniment (which, I might add, is also beautifully done). There is plenty of pianistic brilliance when the music demands it. Some may feel that Bronfman is too genteel but his restraint never diminishes my enjoyment, at least. This disc is a definite keeper. To be on the cautious side, I give this four stars although my inclination is to give five."
Good All-Around performances of Rachmaninov Concerti
email@example.com | Richfield, MN | 06/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have always enjoyed these performances, although in general critical response has been rather negative. What I like most is the sincerity and the refusal to bend the pieces out of shape. Bronfman has flying fingers to spare, and Salonen and the Philharmonia support him admirably. This might not be my first choice, but there are so many other good recordings out there: Cliburn, Ashkenazy, Rubinstein and Kapell in the 2nd, and Adsnes (my personal digital favorite), Janis and Weissenberg (with Pretre, currently unavailible). This certainly will not disappoint anyone who buys this disc."
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yefim Bronfman has a special affinity for these two concerti, a nearly selfless approach to the scores that keeps in mind that while the piano may be the solo instrument and provide key lines for the 'accompanying' orchestra to elucidate, the same relationship belongs to the orchestra when Rachmaninov introduced melodies in the orchestration that are then embraced with ardor by the piano soloist.
Bronfman and Esa-Pekka Salonen understand and concur on this view and the results are performances that equally wed the orchestra and the piano. Rachmaninov was not only a brilliant pianist who played his own works, but also an orchestrator who knew the difference between accompanying and embellishing. Here that is clearly the case. There are times when the orchestral sound covers the piano obbligato and for this listener that is the composer's intent. There are simply few recordings of the #3 that match the splendor of this one.
Though the recording here was made over fifteen years ago, this listener had the opportunity to hear Yefim Bronfman perform the Rachmaninov Third at a recent performance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, this time with the vibrant and intensely passionate Gustavo Dudamel at the helm. It was proof that Bronfman has grown into this work even more: the collaboration with Dudamel (a terrific accompanist!) and the LA Phil in the wondrous acoustic of Disney Hall was simply astonishingly fine and passionate and uplifting. This is a solid recording. One can only hope Bronfman will join Salonen (or Dudamel!) for another outing to demonstrate the intense vision he has developed for these works. Grady Harp, January 07"