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Rachmaninov: Complete Piano Music [Box set]

Sergey Rachmaninov , Felix Mendelssohn , Nikolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov , Fritz Kreisler , Howard Shelley Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £35.71 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Performer: Howard Shelley
  • Composer: Sergey Rachmaninov, Felix Mendelssohn, Nikolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov, Fritz Kreisler
  • Audio CD (1 Jan 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 8
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B00000DUE6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,660 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Review

Best recording of the year award --Classic CD

A significant testimony to Howard Shelley's artistry.Pianistically impeccable,he understands what Rachmaninov was about. --Gramophone

A fine achievement from Howard Shelley and Hyperion alike.These superbly recorded,idiomatic readings demonstrate Shelley's virtuoso pianism and affinity for this music in performances of the highest calibre. --BBC Music Magazine Top 1000 CDs Guide

Product Description

Morceaux de Fantasie - Preludes - Morceaux de Salon - Moments Musicaux - Sonates pour piano - Morceau de fantaisie - Oriental Sketch - Nocturnes - Etudes - Tableaux - Melodies / Howard Shelley, piano

Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Collection 19 Jan 2003
This is an intriguing and rare collection of music; it's certainly a comprehensive anthology of Rachmaninov's undeservedly lesser-known works.
Much of the music is as rich and warm as the Preludes; the Moments Musicaux and the Morceaux de Fantasie in particular are beautiful pieces of work and definately worth having; one wonders why they aren't as loved or as published as the preludes. The Etudes-Tableaux are rare to find on record as their difficulty challenges even the most stringent of pianists; they are marvellous, technically astounding show-pieces. The sonatas are fairly famous already; some are more interesting than others. The two sets of variations are almost on a par with the Paganini variations, they are elegant and are put together marvellously, as you'd expect. The transcriptions and other smaller pieces are all fascinating and are wonderful to hear.
Shelley is a fine Rachmaninov interpreter; he is sensitive and passionate, and has clearly thought very hard about the meaning of the material. His changes in speed are a little eccentric but often add to the romantic feeling of the music, and his playing is dynamically spot-on. The C-minor prelude is played very deliberately and is particularly impressive. Everything else is played, technically, without flaw although a tad more uniformity in speed in general wouldn't have gone amiss. The recording is bright, and perfectly good.
The only problem with the entire set is the homogeny of Rachmaninov's writing. His works are always written very fully, perhaps over-written; there are very few simple pieces. There is nothing wrong with this; the works are all melodic and sound wonderful. But listening to the entire set, it can get somewhat samey hearing each piece of increasingly complex writing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rachmaninov Complete Piano Music for Solo Piano 26 Jun 2010
One never ceases to be amazed at the diversity of Rachmaninov's piano music, its freshness and originality. It is most rewarding, therefore, to have the opportunity of hearing many of his works which are far less well known. Whereas the Piano Sonatas, the Preludes Op.23 and the Etudes-tableaux Op.33 and Op.39, together with the Corelli and Chopin Variations, are frequently performed, it is most interesting to hear some of the rarer piano transcriptions and arrangements, to say nothing of many other attractive pieces included in this 8-disc colection. Howard Shelley, the soloist, plays with authority and conviction, paying great attention in highlighting the many subordinate contrapuntal themes that are an essential part of Rachmaninov's oeuvre. Special mention, too, should be made of the excellent and informative notes by Robert Matthew-Walker. This Hyperion release is good value for money and will provide many hours of satisfaction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Howard Shelley's Hyperion Rachmaninov survey 3 April 2013
By Mr. Mark A. Meldon TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
This 8-CD set of Rachmaninov's piano music is, by any measure, a splendid achievement and surely deserves a permanent place in the catalogue. Although I retain a certain fondness for Ruth Laredo's less comprehensive set (here:Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) - The Complete Solo Piano Music), Howard Shelley is an excellent re-creator and is much better served by the Hyperion recording. As another reviewer has noted, you receive a card clam-shell box, 8 CDs and a comprehensive booklet. Long ago, Jeremy Siepmann reviewed this set in BBC Music Magazine:-

"Rachmaninov was one of the greatest pianists of his age, and thus his piano music was written with great technical insight. The present issue of the complete solo piano music brings together recordings made between 1978 and 1991.

The cellular construction of the Preludes, Op.23, makes them effective either as individuals or as a unified srt, and hearing them complete offers an unusual opportunity to reassess this music. For the Preludes, Op.32, Rachmaninov resisted overly Romantic melody in favour of more elaborate passagework and sudden, unpredictable flights of fancy. Some of the most eloquent examples of this stylistic change can be found in the spectacularly played Etudes-tableaux, Op.33 and 39.

Aside from fine performances of the two sets of variations to themes by Chopin (Op.22) and Corelli (Op.42), this collection is also valuable for its inclusion of the shorter early pieces, works in both their original and revised forms, such as the Piano Sonata, Op.36, and the Melodie from the Morceaux de fantasie, Op.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Endless pleasure 24 Jan 2007
By Edwin J. Firmage - Published on Amazon.com
Fortunately for my pocketbook, I listen to these recordings now mostly from my iTunes library or on my iPod. I say fortunately because I would have long since worn them out. Few of my hundreds of CDs have given me as much pleasure over many years as these. I don't doubt that one can find individual performances of many of these works that may top Shelley's, but for sheer, consistent quality in both interpretation and sound this set is hard to beat. While I have many Rachmaninov recordings by Russian performers, I find myself coming back to Shelley's by preference most of the time. Only in the case of Alexis Weissenberg's characteristically manic DG performance of the two piano sonatas do I find myself regularly drifting from Shelley.

Shelley's recordings of the piano concertos with Bryden Thomson and the Scottish National Orchestra are likewise solid and thoroughly enjoyable as are his three recordings, with various singers (notably Sergei Leiferkus), of the wonderful Rachmaninov Lieder.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hands Down the Best Interpretation of Rachmaninov's Work 28 Oct 2013
By Rishi Sanyal - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I admit I may be biased because this collection was my first introduction to Rachmaninov many years ago back in college, but the sheer power, beauty, & poetic nature with which Shelley plays is nothing short of remarkable.

There is much thought given to expression, tempo, subtlety, and sheer stormful power (to name a few). Often I find these characteristics missing in many interpretations of Rachmaninov. Rachmaninov is not meant to be played like Bach (don't get me wrong - I love Bach), & I would say Shelley's playing of Rachmaninov almost imbues a romanticism to the work (apologies in advance to classical connoiseurs raising their eyebrows at me for the use of the term 'romanticism' here). Personally, that appeals to me. The last time I heard such expressive interpretations of Rachmainov's work was in the Vladimir Ashkenazy's interpretation of the Cadenza from Piano Concerto #3 (Piano Concerto No. 3); definitely don't miss that recording if you're a fan of the 'Rach 3'.

Don't hesitate. Own this fine collection. Howard Shelley - I salute you for your life's work.
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