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Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 & Piano Sonata No. 2: Classic Library Series
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Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 & Piano Sonata No. 2: Classic Library Series

8 May 2004 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 16 April 2004
  • Release Date: 8 May 2004
  • Label: RCA Red Seal
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:05:34
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001GTP9MS
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,862 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By john simmonds on 11 Mar. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This was recorded live on a very special occasion and the atmosphere in the audience was one of keen anticipation. So, really great ,with many spine tinglingmoments
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jamie Andrews on 31 July 2013
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Horowitz may have been aged during both these performances, but one would hardly notice; those saying he made mistakes must have good ears, because I noticed very few and they hardly matter anyway.

I would usually be somewhat wary of albums like this with technological enhancement of the sound, fearing it would take credit away from the performers themselves, but frankly I find the music just so good there's nothing to complain about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scriabinmahler TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 Nov. 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This classic account of Rach3 is the touchstone performance of amazing virtuosity & emotional intensity. 2nd Sonata is no less mind blowing.
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As a professional vioIinist I imagine I have a different way of listening to piano music than most professional pianists. Rachmaninov is not one of my favourite composers, but Horowitz has a way of turning lead into gold. A warning: if you put on the record it is impossible to stop listening until the end. And it will not be a record you just listen to once.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A Valedictory 13 Jun. 2004
By Hank Drake - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
RCA/BMG is apparently taking a cue from Sony's Essential Classics series by reissuing popular recordings from their classical catalogue at mid-price.
This version of Rachmaninoff's Third Concerto was originally recorded live (with touch-ups) in January of 1978 and released about three weeks after the concert. By rushing the LP into stores, RCA was able to cash in on the publicity of Horowitz's golden jubilee, but the sound on the original release was very poor indeed. The piano was miked too closely, and the orchestra mix was very poor. The CD released in the mid-1980s was a great improvement over the LP, but the sonics were problematic there also. The piano was mixed down too severely and seemed to recede behind the orchestra in some passages. This new High Performance reissue is a vast improvement over both earlier versions. The balance problems have been solved, and both piano and orchestra have a much warmer, deeper sound. The dynamic range has been greatly opened up--the final timpani THWACK at the end of the Concerto is quite startling.
As for the performance, this remains my sentimental favorite--even though Horowitz was in better shape in the 1951 version with Reiner than he was in 1978. (He was 74 when this recording was made.) There is something about Horowitz's phrasing, his ability to vary the tempo without losing hold of the basic pulse, and his mixing of inner voices that seems so right. It is more than mere piano playing, it is the art of PERFORMANCE. Bringing the music to life is so much more than putting the right finger in the right place at the right time--and Horowitz was a master of this elusive art. The Rachmaninoff Third Concerto was undoubtedly the greatest piano concerto of the 20th century--and this is my desert island performance.
The Sonata was recorded in concert in 1980. Horowitz plays his own "compromise" version of the Sonata--which is an improvement over the rambling 1913 original and eviscerated 1931 editions. It's a pity that no Horowitz Performing Edition was ever published. Personally, I prefer Horowitz's lithe, pantherlike 1968 recording on Sony to the brooding, moody performance heard here. The sound on the Sony disc is also superior, but RCA has again improved the sound over earlier issues. The piano sounds warmer and less tinny, and the dynamic range is greatly increased.
This disc is a must for all piano enthusiasts.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Horowitz's Signature Piece But With Great Sound 30 Mar. 2005
By David M. Garrett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As many, I am torn between the Reiner/RCA and Ormandy/New York performances of Rachmaninov's Third Concerto with Vladimir Horowitz. One must balance the prime performance and mediocre sound of the former with the valedictory playing but much-improved sound of this remastered edition. As noted by Mr. Drake in his review, this reissue has sparkling sound with balance issues alleviated. The result is a clear, warmer sonic picture between orchestra and piano. And the performance... perhaps not as much "on game" as 1951 but, nevertheless, superb. Horowitz's earlier performance is historic and the sine qua non of Rachmaninov 3rds; however, this Red Seal Classic is a good choice. Just as Rubinstein ascends to new heights in his Chopin readings, Horowitz was made to play Rachmaninov, and his "art" is the result. The Rachmaninov Sonata is a delightful "makeweight" for this CD, although recorded much later (1980). Unless you are a collector of Horowitz master performances, I would give this CD strong consideration.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Rachmaninoff's Two Great Interpreters in Collaboration 13 Sept. 2004
By Interplanetary Funksmanship - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This masterfully remastered version of Rachmaninoff's Third Concerto was given on the 50th anniversary of Russian Pianist Vladimir Horowitz' American debut. Though not preferred by most critics to his 1951 recording with Reiner and the RCA Symphony Orchestra, this is by far Horowitz' most polished, emotional and powerful performance - full of cantabile and warmth, yet never lacking in the pyrotechnics for which Volodya was so famous. His treatment of the concerto is actually closer to his 1930 recording with Albert Coates and the London Symphony Orchestra. A number of critics have pointed out that some portions of this recording were cut in the studio following the actual concert because Horowitz made a few mistakes. That's all good and well, but this review is of the final, edited disc, not the concert itself.

How fortunate we are, as well, to have Rachmaninoff's close friend Eugene Ormandy as conductor for this eventful recording - this is the only available recording of Rachmaninoff's two greatest champions in collaboration. This, in fact, is my favourite classical recording - period. It documents Horowitz' first appearance with an orchestra since 1953 and one can sense the anticipation from the opening chords of hearing what Horowitz would come up with. This piece has been long known as Horowitz' warhorse, but for the first time, Horowitz does not pounce upon this great work immediately with his explosive pianism.

Instead of attacking the opening movement (Allegro ma non tanto) with the linear thrust of sound for which he was famous, here Horowitz delivers a subtle, reflective rendering. It is as though Horowitz has been holding back this concerto for twenty-five years, and doesn't want to let it go; each note is imbued with urgency and passion - flowing from Horowitz' fingers like so many precious gems and gold pieces.

His buildup to the cadenza is done superbly (Horowitz plays the original version, rather than the more virtuosic ossias. Commented Horowitz about his choice of cadenza, "I play the original cadenza in the first movement. Rachmaninoff always played it too. You know, the cadenza really builds up to the end of the concerto. The alternate cadenza is like an ending in itself. It's not good to end the concerto before it's over!")

Eugene Ormandy's conducting is equally commanding and brilliant. I can only imagine what was going through his mind as he conducted this piece, which he had almost forty years before recorded with Rachmaninoff himself. While the strings are starker than those of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Ormandy skillfully bends the will of the New York Philharmonic to Horowitz' playing: Where Horowitz takes a relaxed tempo, the orchestra gives him plenty of room, playing in refrain off his melodies. Two examples of this are the simple, eloquent flute solo coming off the heels of Horowitz' cadenza in the first movement, and the undercurrent of the lower strings in the second (Intermezzo: Adagio) over which Horowitz conjures from his famed Steinway the entire range of his vast pianistic emotion.

Yet, when Horowitz explodes into flurries of chordal progression and crescendi, the Philharmonic brings in the air support he needs to pull off this concerto of massive and heroic proportions. In the finale (Alla Breve), all of the tentativeness and anxiety of the previous two movements are shed as Horowitz and Ormandy build to finale's climax. Deftly they work in unison, each passage building upon another suspensefully, tautly, the tempo accelerating ever so slightly to the impassioned conclusion. The last two minutes of the concerto are beautifully and triumphantly delivered, the brass and timpani playing in staccatoed counterpoint to Horowitz' piano, which ardently ascends in legato to the pinnacle of the concerto.

This performance, moreso than any other, brings out the fully romantic nature of this concerto.When the concerto is finished, you suddenly realise that the sense of rapture and deliverance you had felt has not left you. And when the last notes reverberate from your speakers, you won't know whether the thunderous ovation you hear is coming from the Carnegie Hall audience, or from within.

The second selection is the Second Piano Sonata, which was recorded in 1980. As with the Third Concerto, this is a heavier and slower rendition than his 1968 Carnegie Hall recording, but I prefer the first movement on this one. It's more reflective, and the second movement is played with simple honesty of feeling. The finale is more of a massive cluster of notes than the 1968, but it is a good alternative. Even when Horowitz was a little off, still no-one could touch him. His own edited version of the 1913 and 1931 Rachmaninoff versions is the best I've heard, and wish Boosey and Hawkes would print a "Horowitz Edition." His grasp of Rachmaninoff was immediate and intuitive.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I was fortunate enough to have seen him perform in person at ... 19 Oct. 2014
By Gordy - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
How do you improve on perfection?
I was fortunate enough to have seen him perform in person at Carnegie Hall in New York.
People were sitting in the audience with tears streaming from their eyes.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Sergei's ghost was there! Not to be missed. 8 Dec. 2005
By Don Eylat - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I recently listened with great interestto alovely younglady named Olga play the third with JamesConlon directing, as part of the Van Cliburn competition and it was obviousthat her interpretation had been inspired by Horowits'formidable performances. At the concerto's conclusion, I feared she'dfaint, exhausted by her monumental effort.In days long gone,I used to read reviews in Stereo review and in reviewing Horowits' performancewith Ormandy conductingthe NY Philharmonic, hejudged thepeformance FLAWED. Well we are all entitled to our opinions but I believe the reviewer was either deaf or was a lover of Liberace's type of kitch.I trulybelieve than when the lastchord faded away, Rachmaninov whispered in my ear:" THAT iswhat I meant!"UntilI met him during a concert in Brussels in the early 1950s, I had an image of Horowits asa broadshouldered athletic type. Since that concert, when he made mefall in love with both Robert Schumann and Domenico Scarlatti, I've wondere where did this delicate slim man find the power, the energy and at times the ferocity to perform like agladiatortof the keyboard and in thematter of a millisecond become as lyrical as let's say:Ivan Moravec playing a Chopin nocturne. The only other pianist I know capable ofsuch feats was Sviatoslav Richter who unfortunately was never healthy enoughto perform the greatconcertos under "live" conditions.(Hecancelled on me twice in Brussels andagain inParis to whichI had driven justtohear Richterin alive concert.I was more fortunate with Horowits althoughhe wasin oneofhis"Ihate Chopin " moods and dispatched a couple of balades witth the feelingsof an lizzard and no one applauded( Brusselsis tough!) He then took a ten minute breather and announced a change of program anddelighted uswith an magical rendition of Schuman's Kinderscenen before making us discover the genius of Scarlatti. Alas no major Rachmaninov, no Liszt buthe madeup for them byregaling uswith every one of his favorite encores whichincluded one Rachmaninov prelude from opus 23(pure magic!).
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