This is revelatory rendition of the Rhapsody, partly because of Valentina's excellent performance, matched by a sympathetic orchestra, but also I think because of the fine sound engineering. The aural balance has been beautifully struck, just subtly favouring the piano over the orchestra throughout so that the soloist sings through without ever becoming submerged. This, coupled with Valentina's refined tonal control and precise, even punctilious fingerwork means that there is a striking clarity of every single note of the score. This uncovered finer layers of this piece which I had never really heard or appreciated before, and made the performance truly fresh.
The Variations concentrate the many musical moods of Rachmaninov within a single movement work. Valentina's playing captures these qualities perfectly, ranging effortlessly from spirited delicacy through languid sweetness to controlled menace, and always with a committed forward momentum. A slight cooler more objective performance perhaps than her impassioned Rach 3? But all the more poetic for that, and just as captivating albeit in a different way.
Frankly I haven't heard a finer recording of this piece.