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Rachmaninov: Complete Piano Concertos

2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Horenstein
  • Composer: Sergei Rachmaninov
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B00000JWIW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,147 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 1 In F Sharp Minor: I Vivace
2. Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 1 In F Sharp Minor: II Andante
3. Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 1 In F Sharp Minor: III Allegro vivace
4. Piano Concerto No. 4, Op. 40 In G Minor: I Allegro
5. Piano Concerto No. 4, Op. 40 In G Minor: II Largo
6. Piano Concerto No. 4, Op. 40 In G Minor: III Allegro vivace
7. Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini, Op. 43
Disc: 2
1. Piano Concerto No.2, Op.18 In C Minor: I. Moderato
2. Piano Concerto No.2, Op.18 In C Minor: II. Adagio sostenuto
3. III. Allegro scherzando
4. Piano Concerto No.3, Op.30 In D Minor: I. Allegro
5. Piano Concerto No.3, Op.30 In D Minor: II. Intermezzo: Adagio
6. III. Finale: Allegro

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A/Burrows on 2 Jan. 2015
This 2 CD set of Rachmaninov's four Piano Concertos and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini was recorded in 1966 by pianist Earl Wild, conductor Jascha Horenstein and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The American pianist Earl Wild is a real showman on the piano with a stunning sound, particularly in the lower registers. He is given very rich accompaniment by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the open Chandos sound.

They are certainly on form together in the first Piano Concerto with Wild displaying a sensitive side to his playing in the first two movements. It is one of the finest performances I have heard of this Concerto.

I also liked their playing of the fourth Piano Concerto, which has a intense power between Wild and the RPO.

I thought the third Piano Concerto was good but Wild's playing here was not in the same class as say Vladimir Ashkenazy and Howard Shelley.

But the most famous of Rachmaninov's Piano Concertos, the second, in my opinion is the weakest performance of the four. Quite simply Wild and his conductor take the tempo far too quickly from start to finish with even the Adagio sostenuto going like an express train. It really spoils it for me and makes me think of a much better recording with Philip Fowke and the RPO that they did in 1985 for EMI.

Earl Wild's playing in the Rhapsody is generally very good but there are better recordings such as again those by Ashkenazy and Shelley.

So not perfect but worth buying for the performances of the first and Fourth Piano Concertos alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr R TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 July 2014
Earl Wild, 1915-2010, was one of the most accomplished pianists in history with a phenomenally diverse repertoire, and here he is joined by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, under Jascha Horenstein, 1898-1973. These are recordings where the soloist and orchestra are very much a partnership, not always the case in Rachmaninov.

In 1939, Wild was the first pianist to give a live solo recital on US television and almost six decades later, in March 1997, he became the first pianist to give a live solo recital on the internet. He gave his final recital at the age of 93, not quite as old as Mieczyslaw Horoszowski!

Wild makes the ‘traditional’ cuts in the finale of the Third Concerto and, unless this is a vital requirement, this is a very rewarding set. The first disc contains the First [1891, revised 1917] and Fourth Concertos [1924, revised 1941] and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini [1934] (67’. 46) with the more popular Second [1900-01] and Third [1909] Concertos on disc two (65’. 45). The booklet contains an informative essay on the musical works by John Cox and brief information about the soloist, conductor and orchestra.

The RPO under Horenstein, still an under-rated conducted whose interpretations on record are almost always cogently incisive [notably in Bruckner and Mahler, and on the BBC Legends recordings], fully matches the pianist in musical shape and tonality. Even so, I would not have marked him down as such an excellent conductor of these works.

Playing of this kind should surely make the Fourth Concerto better known, the First seems by far the weakest piece, even after its substantial revision and in this concerto Wild seemed, occasionally, to be seeking to pull the orchestra.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 13 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A landmark recording of Rachmaninoff's Concertos 17 Oct. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
There has never been a finer set of Rachmaninoff's Concertos. Needless to say, Wild has the virtuosity to bring the works off with tremendous flair and gorgeous, robust tone. But it is his musicianship that really is amazing. Wild and Horenstein offer quite a bit more passion and urgency than Ashkenazy or Cliburn do in their famous versions. The recorded sound is excellent. Since these concertos receive so many routine or overdone performances, this set is a welcome reissue.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Just gets better with age! 26 Dec. 2003
By Cynthia Staudenmeir - Published on Amazon.com
As a pianist with an affinity for the romantic, my introduction to Earl Wild and Rachmaninov was when, in the 1960s, my mother bought us the Readers Digest set of records (when they first came out) from which this CD is made -- it was love at first sight (hearing)! (Guess who took the records with him when he went off to college??!). I thought these were wonderful recordings and interpretations when I first heard them (despite my youth and inexperience then), and now approx. 40 years later (having heard a number of other recordings in the intervening years), my opinion is unchanged. Being a romantic pianist in the spirit of Rachmaninov and Horowitz, Earl Wild sets a very high standard here. It doesn't get any better than this. Only two regrets -- the lack of the full uncut version of the 3rd (the cuts were sanctioned by the composer in a time when audience attention spans were not nearly so long as they are today), and the notable and very regrettable absence of the Isle of the Dead from this CD (which was also on the original set of 1960s records -- an evocative, exciting tone poem in its own right, rendered as well or better than any other I've heard by Horsenstein and company. Wild's 1st and 2nd concerti and Rhapsody from this set are the best I've heard and are still the standard by which I judge other performances of the same pieces (ditto for the Isle of the Dead).
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Easily the best 7 Feb. 2002
By Terry Kildal - Published on Amazon.com
The collaboration between Wild and Horenstein is breathtaking. The sound of the orchestra has a presence that I have not found on any other set. I prefer this 3rd concerto to any of the others I have heard...for it's sheer excitement. I have heard all of the Horowitz versions, Kissin, Volodos,Cliburn,Janis,Gavrilov, Ashkenazy and this beats them. While all of the others have spectacular moments, on the whole this 3rd is the best. (Some will want to have another rendition because of the shortened cadenza and I can understand this). If you have only one set, this is the one to own.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Just about the best I've ever encountered!! 11 Feb. 2001
By Dr J - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I first heard these gorgeous renditions when they were first released on long-play stereo records. My husband and I (both professional musicians) were truly impressed--need I say "flabbergasted" at the wonderful playing and the orchestral integrity. Rachmaninoff needs to be performed by those who have big souls and wondrous imaginations, and both these performers fit the bill. Anyone who truly loves the grandeur of Russian romantic music will find this food for the soul.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Best complete set & arguably best individual performances 25 Dec. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
The only 2nd which may be better is Graffman's and 3rd is Horowitz's 1951 (w/ Reiner). But the sound is much better on these disks. The conducting is for the first time as good as the playing. The key word is exciting, and Horenstein deserves more credit for this than Wild. This is high praise since Wild is known as a virtuoso.
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