Tuesday, November 17, 2015

RACHMANINOV Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

“The catalogue may bulge with recordings of these two concertos, yet the verve and poetry of these performances somehow forbid comparison, even at the most exalted level. Zimerman claims that Rachmaninov says everything there is to say about the First Concerto in his own performance.

But had Rachmaninov heard Zimerman he might have been envious. Zimerman opens in a blaze of rhetorical glory before skittering through the first Vivace with the sort of winged brilliance that will reduce lesser pianists to despair. 

The cadenza is overwhelming, and at 4'36" in the central Andante's starry ascent his rubato tugs painfully at the heartstrings. In the finale, despite a dizzying tempo, every one of the teeming notes is pinpointed with shining clarity.

The Second Concerto also burns and coruscates in all its first heat. A romantic to his fingertips, Zimerman inflects one familiar theme after another with a yearning, bittersweet intensity that he equates in his interview with first love.

Every page is alive with a sense of wonder at Rachmaninov's genius. Seiji Ozawa and the Boston orchestra are ideal partners, and DG's sound and balance are fully worthy of this memorable release.” --Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

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