A selection of lucid, intimate, and short-from Rachmaninoff works, interpreted with pinpoint technical precision.
At an impromptu gathering in 1940, Sergei Rachmaninoff demonstrated at the piano just how he wanted his new orchestral work, Symphonic Dances, to be performed. Rachmaninoff, one of the greatest of all pianists, reduced the orchestral score for a single piano on this occasion. That recording is presented here in two versions: first, edited to conform to the score and again, just as the occasion unfolded, as Rachmaninoff jumped from place to place as he demonstrated.
Pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy's acclaimed interpretations, together on one super low-priced set! Also includes Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini; 24 Preludes; Suites 1 & 2; Etudes-tableaux , and Piano Sonata 2 . Other performers include Andre Previn and the London Symphony.
This 10-CD set wowed audiences when it first appeared in 1992, and with good reason – although music scholars and classical record collectors were well aware of it, the general classical audience of the late twentieth century likely had no inkling of how extensively Rachmaninov had recorded and otherwise preserved aspects of his playing and performances (in addition to his actual recordings, there were also the piano rolls that he did for the American Piano Company, which are a matter separate from this collection, and transcribed and released by Decca/London Records on CD).
Sergey Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil, also known as the Vespers, is among his most admired works, and it was one of the composer's own favorites, along with The Bells. This 2015 Chandos release by Charles Bruffy and the combined voices of the Phoenix Chorale and the Kansas City Chorale presents the music in the super audio format, so the richness of the divisi choral parts and the depth of the basso profundo come across fully in the multichannel reproduction. Bruffy is the musical director of both groups, so his special rapport with them creates an even ensemble blend that balances the largely homophonic textures, and brings a consistency of approach to the three styles of chant Rachmaninov imitated, Kievan, Greek, and Znamenny. The beauty of the a cappella voices and the surprisingly lush harmonies make this setting immediately appealing and ultimately moving, and listeners who enjoy sacred choral music for inspiration or meditation will find the All-Night Vigil's smooth flow and expressive warmth well-suited to those purposes.
Switzerland has always had a great attraction for Russian composers. Peter Tschaikowsky, Sergei Prokofjew and Igor Stravinsky were impressed by the beauty of the Swiss Alpine landscape. The composer Sergei Rachmaninoff should even find his new home here. Not far from Lucerne, on Lake Lucerne, the famous composer and pianist built a magnificent house, the "Villa Senar", in 1930 and found the peace and quiet here to compose famous works today. In the summer of 1934 he wrote his highly virtuoso "Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini" for piano and orchestra, and a year later his 3rd symphony.