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Rachmaninov : Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 4

Nikolai Lugansky Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 14.53 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (21 Mar 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CLASSICAL
  • ASIN: B0007PHAYC
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 396,349 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Rachmaninov : Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor Op.18 : I ModeratoNikolai Lugansky11:020.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor Op.18 : II Adagio sostenutoNikolai Lugansky11:130.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Rachmaninov : Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor Op.18 : III Allegro scherzandoNikolai Lugansky11:320.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Rachmaninov : Piano Concerto No.4 in G minor Op.40 : I Allegro vivaceNikolai Lugansky 9:470.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Rachmaninov : Piano Concerto No.4 in G minor Op.40 : II LargoNikolai Lugansky 6:480.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Rachmaninov : Piano Concerto No.4 in G minor Op.40 : III Allegro VivaceNikolai Lugansky 9:360.79  Buy MP3 


Product Description

CD Lugansky/Cbso/Oramo

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By I. Giles TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This disc, along with the others in the series, has been the recipient of very opposing critical reviews. Essentially it did not appeal to the reviewer in the Gramophone who was far from welcoming. The BBC Music Magazine on the other hand liked the discs sufficiently to immediately make them their benchmark references at that time.

This underlines the very personal nature of reviewing, even within 'expert' magazines and therefore all reviews, including this one, should be read with that in mind.

Both magazines described the technical aspects of the piano playing, the orchestral accompaniment and the recording quality as being of very high quality. The divergence of opinion centred around the perceived emotional involvement or not of Lugansky. The Gramophone reviewer perceived him as being very cool and emotionally disengaged. The BBC magazine reviewer conversely found the playing to be completely emotionally engaged but in a rather cooler way than is often the case.

The issue therefore revolves around the concepts of coolness, being detached or being engaged and whether this perception communicates Rachmaninov's music to the listener sufficiently. It seems to me that this is as much about the reviewer as about Lugansky so I will add my own thoughts and observations on the matter as follows:

I own several CDs of Lugansky playing Rachmaninov and also the Chopin Eudes. I would agree that his playing style is on the cool side and would add that he often favours a darker palette than many when it comes to tonally or texturally balancing the notes that he is playing. This darker aspect is also reinforced by the way he brings out the weight in terms of the rhythmical aspects of the music being played. The Chopin etudes are the darkest set I have heard.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lugansky Surveys the Rachmaninov Concerti 6 Sep 2005
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
By now even the most casual concertgoer and record collector knows the Rachmaninov Piano Concerti and everyone has favorite renditions. Until now. The young (33 year old) Russian wonder Nikolai Lugansky plays these old chestnuts as though they were premieres to the ear. That every note is in place comes as no surprise to those who have heard him play on recordings or on the stage. And it is a given that the full keyboard will be covered with his bravado technique, making even the more treacherous passages strong in clarity and uncovered by heavy pedaling.

But there is more to Lugansky's performances here with Sakari Oramo conducting the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. For example in the opening of the Adagio from the 2nd Rachmaninov clearly wrote the piano part to be an accompaniment for the orchestral melody, and whereas most other pianists stretch this secondary role with extensive portamento and saccharine emphasis, Lugansky understands his role and plays so straight forward and understated that the orchestra's moments shine. Then when the piano jumps into the spotlight he fully understands how to sing Rachmaninov's gorgeous, lyrical melodies with as much passion as the composer demands.

Both the 2nd and 4th concerti are as fine as they come and in Oramo, Lugansky has found a sensitive collaborator. Grady Harp, September 05
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now Part of a Budget-Priced 9CD Box Set 11 May 2013
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
For those who like Lugansky's playing (as I do) you might be interested to know that this CD and the ones with the other concertos plus the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini are now part of a budget-priced 9CD box (whose total cost as I write this is about what you'd pay for two CDs otherwise) here: Nikolai Lugansky

Scott Morrison
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine presentation of these two contrasting concertos in typical Luganski style 30 Dec 2012
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This disc, along with the others in the series, has been the recipient of very opposing critical reviews. Essentially it did not appeal to the reviewer in the Gramophone who was far from welcoming. The BBC Music Magazine on the other hand liked the discs sufficiently to immediately make them their benchmark references at that time.

This underlines the very personal nature of reviewing, even within 'expert' magazines and therefore all reviews, including this one, should be read with that in mind.

Both magazines described the technical aspects of the piano playing, the orchestral accompaniment and the recording quality as being of very high quality. The divergence of opinion centred around the perceived emotional involvement or not of Lugansky. The Gramophone reviewer perceived him as being very cool and emotionally disengaged. The BBC magazine reviewer conversely found the playing to be completely emotionally engaged but in a rather cooler way than is often the case.

The issue therefore revolves around the concepts of coolness, being detached or being engaged and whether this perception communicates Rachmaninov's music to the listener sufficiently. It seems to me that this is as much about the reviewer as about Lugansky so I will add my own thoughts and observations on the matter as follows:

I own several CDs of Lugansky playing Rachmaninov and also the Chopin Eudes. I would agree that his playing style is on the cool side and would add that he often favours a darker palette than many when it comes to tonally or texturally balancing the notes that he is playing. This darker aspect is also reinforced by the way he brings out the weight in terms of the rhythmical aspects of the music being played. The Chopin etudes are the darkest set I have heard. Nothing is played that is not written, it is just a matter of emphasis and this makes a considerable difference. It shows Chopin in a different emotional light and that affects our own emotional response to both the music and the pianist too. These observations can be also be applied to Lugansky's Rachmaninov.

There is a DVD of Lugansky playing Rachmaninov in a concert at the Roque d'Antheron and here it is possible to witness Lugansky's tremendous technical abilities and also his total concentration on the music as the music reaches a very exciting conclusion in each case. All this is done with scarcely a glance at the keyboard, eyes often skyward, evident rapt internal concentration and no evidence of physical strain. This is a far cry from Lang Lang's more demonstrative expression of emotional attachment for example but certainly no less sincere or deeply felt.

I find these two concertos to include all that has been described as above. The speeds are generally fairly brisk, the climaxes are reached with surety and everything is very clearly laid before us sonically. The piano is well integrated with the orchestra which is a true partner to the piano rather than just an accompanist. The recording is wide ranging, well balanced and musically faithful.

There is undoubtedly an element of coolness and an element of the darker side too. There are many more emotionally overt Rachmaninov performances of note but these can be equally enjoyed in their own distinctive way. I also currently enjoy the recordings of these two concertos by Ashkenazy, Andsnes, van Cliburn, Hough, Michelangeli and Richter to place them in strictly alphabetical order.

In the end there are equally exalted places for all of these pianists in their own different ways. I would suggest that Lugansky belongs to the same exalted group. He will not appeal to everybody but he certainly is worth listening to, especially if you like your Rachmaninov slightly cool, dark, stirred but not shaken! My vote would go with the BBC magazine reviewer rather than the Gramophone representative on this occasion.

........................................

Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

One of your BEST Reviews Ian! Cogently argued and even-handed - definitely Food For Thought, and worthy of publication in The Gramophone.
Personally, I prefer "Emotionally Superheated but with Pinpoint Precision" as often demonstrated by Lang Lang ("Live in Vienna" & "Liszt Now"), Barenboim (Piano AND Conducting), Andsnes, Mutter, Rattle, and many others. Mutter in particular has been described as combining "Passion and Precision", but little Sarah Chang is not far behind!!
Best Wishes (U.K. review)
............................................
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The highlight is a magnetic, dynamic Fourth Concerto 6 Mar 2012
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
To judge by the inattention it has received here at amazon, Nikolai Lugansky's Rachmaninov might simply be a footnote to the flood of excellent recordings released by Russian pianists since the fall of the Soviet empire - and before - which attest to the major role that Rachmaninov plays in Russian musical life. But Lugansky deserves his own recognition - he's an individual artist, incapable of bluster, and more often than not capable of elegant readings. I bought this pairing of the Second and fourth Concertos having heard him play the Paganini Rhapsody in concert, and it fits the mold. The swoony Hollywood side of the thrice-familiar Second is kept in restraint. Lugansky's approach isn't as sober as Simon Trpceski's with Petrenko or as brilliant Yuja Wang on DG, but all avoid schmaltz. Lugansky's clear fingerwork is quite transparent, and he plays the two famous melodies in the first and second movements with tasteful lyricism.

The rarity is the Fourth Cto., which contrary to the lead reviewer, is by no means a chestnut; one could go years without seeing it listed in the programs of major orchestras, even if the frequency has increased thanks to so many Russian soloists. For decades two facts seem to hold true about this work: it exemplified the decline of Rachmaninov in later years, and the recording to have was a classic EMI version from Michelangeli. The latter point is no longer true; if only for it s limited sound the Michelangeli is quite dated, as glittering as his pianism remains. As for Rachmaninov's decline, such a claim is always risky when the future could bring new, revelatory performances. Lugansky makes sense of the score in a way that, if not revelatory, is very impressive. The experience for the listener is far more than fistfuls of notes, although these do dominate. The reading manages to be luscious and dynamic at the same time, throwing off plenty of thunder and convincing passages of brooding menace.

If you add to these virtues the lifelike, vivid sound provided by Warner Classics and the assured conducting of Sakari Oramo (captured in 2005 during his somewhat star-crossed tenure in Birmingham), the overall result is highly recommendable.
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