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Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2/Etudes-tableaux

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Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2/Etudes-tableaux + Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3
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Product details

  • Performer: Evgeny Kissin
  • Conductor: Valery Gergiev
  • Composer: Sergey Rachmaninov
  • Audio CD (4 Sept. 1993)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Red Seal
  • ASIN: B000003EUT
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,190 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. "Concerto No. 2, Op. 18 in C Minor"
2. "Études-tableaux, Op. 39"
3. Moderato; Allegro
4. Adagio sostenuto
5. Allegro scherzando
6. No. 1 in C Minor
7. No. 2 in A Minor
8. No. 4 in B Minor
9. No. 5 in E-Flat Minor
10. No. 6 in A Minor
11. No. 9 in D

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 April 2002
Format: Audio CD
This recording of one of the most famous Piano Concertos ever written is very special. Kissin is a phenomenal artist and this CD says it all. Kissin can really grip the audience into the very heart of the music, without being too over the top. His sense of musical balance in the concerto as a whole is outstanding and is a must for all lovers of Rachmaninov's writing and Kissin's piano playing. Remarkable at Sixteen years old as well! Bravo Kissin! I highly recommend it
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By andreasd@unik.no on 1 Dec. 2001
Format: Audio CD
Evgeny Kissin made this recording at the age of 16. It's amazing how mature his playing is; the intonation is impeccable and the small artistic pauses keeps you nailed in front of the loudspeakers. This recording is among the best ever made of this work!
It easily surpasses most of the other recordings available: The acclaimed Aschenazy recordings pale in comparison. The Rachmaninov/Stokovsky recording is good, but the sound quality does show it was made in the 1920s - and the small details drown in the hissing sound of the master-tape. Leif Ove Andsnes' recording is good too, but not as involving as Kissin's! Personally I rank this recording as the best ever made of this work.
The CD even includes some of the Etudes-Tableaux Op. 39 as a bonus. These are also awesome in comparison with the other versions I've heard (Andsnes, Biret and Aschenazy).
Highly recommended!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Powerful Rachmaninoff 24 Sept. 2005
By Joseph W. Hyink - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Because Rachmaninoff's music mirrors the Russian culture, I have often noted that no one plays Rachmaninoff like a Russian. Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Etudes-Tableaux, played by the Russian Evgeny Kissin, is unparalleled in mastery, beauty, and power. The album begins with one of the most sensitive interpretations of Rachmaninoff's second piano concerto that I have heard (on par with Vladimir Ashkenazy's, a fellow Russian). Kissin understands the flow of the piece from beginning to end. As a result, he builds the tension by accentuating the rich chord progressions that fill the piece. He then resolves that tension with the precision of a story-teller and the sensitivity of a master artist. Though the music stretches the ability of even the greatest pianists, Kissin plays through the difficulty in order to paint a landscape of musical progression. He hears and invites his audience to hear the intricate sub-plots that recur all throughout the work. Perhaps Rachmaninoff's most famous composition is married with a true master artist.

The album ends with six powerful Etudes-Tableaux. Once again, Kissin hears and emphasizes both the predominant theme as well as the innumerable sub-themes, often overlooked by lesser musicians. My favorite is Etude-Tableau No. 5 in E-flat minor. This extremely difficult piece builds tension through increased dissonance until a lofty climax. That dissonance almost becomes unpleasant to the ears, creating an atmosphere of extreme melancholy. I imagine that tension mirroring the inner turmoil that an individual experiences through a difficult time of life. But when that tension and internal cacophony can get no greater and the person is at the point of breaking, grace comes! The beauty of the resolution is far more beautiful against such a dark backdrop. And any person who has been through difficulties can fully enter into the emotion of the music. And anybody who is currently experiencing pain and suffering can take hope, even from this music, that resolution will come.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Finally--a pianist lets the music speak for itself! 16 Dec. 2002
By C Dub - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I think I own about 5-6 other recordings of this, but this one takes the cake. I'd say that Kissin's clarity on this piece is what impresses me the most, although I'd also say that his other strengths are right up there. Regarding clarity, the passagework right after the initial occurrance of the 1st theme in the beginning of the 3rd movement is clearer than you will hear by any other performer--Kissin is simply the best there is in terms of technical preparation and execution. But once you get over how impressive his technique was, listen to the phrasing he manages to observe as well! I haven't heard any other pianist perform this section as clearly nor with such exquisite detail to phrasing, which is a reflection of both his technique and musicianship, THE two elements of pianistic criticism. And this is also indicative of the rest of the concerto. The only area in which I'm disappointed is his climax of the 1st movement, although he DID perform it according to the score. The climax (about halfway through the 1st mvt.) is written at fortissimo, which is actually down a dynamic notch from fortissISSimo (fff) from the measure before. So it's kind of a let down. But, as I said, it's written in the score that way, and the only pianist I've heard perform it the way I prefer is Richter (DG). Nevertheless, Kissin's performance is still my favorite.
Concerning the etudes: Wow. The A minor (op. 39 no. 2) is absolutely breathtaking. One can't ask for better taste in timing than what Kissin has to offer. Rachmaninoff once said that he believes that every piece has one and only one climax, and everything else before or after is in one way or another coming to or from that point. This is easier said than done, but Kissin pulls it off, never leaving the listener in doubt as to exactly where that climax is, and also never surprising the listener with its placement. The E-flat minor (op. 39 no. 5) etude shares many of the same values as the previous--again, particularly at the climax. His timing is impeccable. And the other A minor (op. 39 no. 6) isn't so much amazing because of the climax (surprise!) but more because of his brilliant clarity, dynamic contrast, tension and release, and performance of the passages that can be truly hair-raising if executed correctly.
This is a must buy. I feel as if there's almost empirical evidence for this. It's a recording that one can use to convince any listener that these are the best recordings of these pieces available. If you want a recording that's clouded by the personality fragments of the performer, do not buy this recording. If you want to get to know the music rather than the performer, this is the one to buy.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
OK Concerto, excellent Etudes-Tableaux. 3 Aug. 2007
By A. Rocheleau - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Kissin was a bit too young at the time for this concerto; that said, his tone is ravishing (slightly metallic on this particluar piano, but that's in terms of bells, not anvils). Overall, the playing is technically sound, but one could question the use of pedal here and there, smearing articulation, and at times--no fault of his own-- Kissin is drowning in the swells created by Gergiev. The Etude-Tableaux are excellent; several could actually be considered signature readings of the pieces. Buy this recording for the etudes, and use the concerto for points of comparison with the likes of Cliburn, Duchable (a personal favorite), Ashkenazy and Weissenberg.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The B-sides are the highlight of this Kissin recording. 14 Jan. 1999
By atv - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This was the first recording that I'd heard of Kissin's playing. Once I was over the amazement to the fact that he was a mere 16 years old when he recorded this, only then could I critique the performance and interpretation of these wonderful and extremely difficult works. That said - the true gems on this recording are the Etudes-Tableaux. Technically and interpretively excellent, he does wonderfully at expressing Rachmaninoffs picturesque miniatures. I've not yet heard a better recording of the #1 Etude in C-minor.To top off , the piano that he is playing on is exceptional; same quality of the pianos played by Rachmaninoff and Horowitz from the 1940's(back when Steinway "made them like they used to").The concerto leaves much to be desired.Kissin's playing is good but I don't care for some of the tempos that they use and the sound quality (mixing) is definetely lacking - particularly where the piano is concerned; too much echo.Buy this CD for the Etudes; these are among Rachmaninoff's finest works for solo piano and young Mr. Kissin does an enjoyable rendition of them; one that I think even Rachmaninoff himself could be pleased with.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
a so-so recording.... 6 Sept. 2003
By Xiao He - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
having listened to this recording, I finally confirmed what I had been thinking, which is that Kissin is not a suitable pianist for Russian music! I don't intend to infuriate his fans, but this is what i truly feel. Yes, in terms of technique, he is undoubtedly one of the best. However, I don't hear the tension, the emotional conflicts, and the struggling that are inevitable in Russian music, especially in Rachmaninoff's compositions. For those who wanna collect all the versions of Rachmaninov No.2, go ahead and get this CD, but for those who don't wanna spend money again and again in order to find the BEST, please choose Weissenberg or/and Richter.
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