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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very best options available of this repertoire, 8 Mar. 2013
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini, Chopin & Corelli Variations (Audio CD)
This disc, excellently recorded in 2003-04, completes Lugansky's excellent survey of Rachmaninov's works for piano and orchestra and his sets of variations all in one useful go. The orchestra under Oramo provide excellent support in the Paganini variations.

This whole set of discs has received glowing reviews in magazines and on the BBC music program. Some have suggested that Lugansky has achieved benchmark status which is a remarkable achievement in such a hotly contested field. Nevertheless, having got in my collection a considerable number of respected and famous recordings from the generations, I would be inclined to place Lugansky at the very top of the list of outstanding versions.

Lugansky brings a thoughtful frame of mind to the Paganini Variations plus his formidable technique. There are numerous instances of great sensitivity and equally numerous moments of fire. Lugansky has a tendency to favour the darker timbres and moods of his repertoire such as in his striking view of the Chopin Etudes fro example. This darker side enhances the Russian character of his playing and as such there are parallels with other great Russian pianists such as Richter. This is only hinted at in these variations but is much more apparent in the two sets of solo variations, in particular the late set of Corelli Variations written at about the same time as the Paganini set.

The Chopin Variations is an earlier work but already the Rachmaninov sound world is fully established even if the variations are not so compact and tightly argued as in the later Corelli set. Lugansky gives an impassioned account of both works which does not shy away from the enormous expressive range required. The performance of the Corelli set in particular takes on an epic quality. There are epic stretches of bleak Russian spaces contrasted with climaxes which are equally epic and throughout the scale of the performance is vast. This is great playing which carries all before it with every opportunity taken to illustrate Rachmaninov's absolute mastery of the tonal resources of the piano.

It would be foolish to suggest any performance of any work today as being definitive there being far too many justifiable alternative viewpoints and generally too many fine choices available. We live in a privileged age. However there will always be stand-out options even in a hotly contested field such as this.

I would therefore suggest that this very fine disc deserves the most serious consideration from anyone interested in the program. Supporters of Lugansky need not hesitate.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful playing from Lugansky, 22 Jan. 2010
By 
Dr.Stuart "I am a retired teacher. I speciali... (Rickmansworth, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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A lovely performance of the Rachmaninov Rhapsody from Lugansky, delicate, nimble finger work bringing out the romantic intensity of the music. It is clear that Lugansky loves this music the able accompaniment only adds to its attraction. At the price an outstanding bargain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rachmaninov's variations., 15 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini, Chopin & Corelli Variations (Audio CD)
Made well known to a wide audience as the theme music for "The South Bank Show" the Variations on a theme of Paganini are so much more than the opening section. Less well known are the other two sets on this CD, but certainly no less interesting. Apparently the Corelli Variations were based on a Portuguese folk dance, yet when told of this, Rachmaninov declared he had more important things to worry about!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Rachmaninov, 20 Feb. 2015
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N. D. Ridley "Zed" (South East England) - See all my reviews
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Superb performance of Rachmaninov piano concertos
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