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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this for everybody for Christmas..............it is glorious perfection!
Valentina is not just a pretty girl in a pretty dress as some reviewers have stated. I am a classically trained musician so I am indeed familiar with many other recordings of these works, but this is something quite extraordinary. I don’t usually bother writing reviews of all the CD’s I buy because I listen to so much music and buy so many CDs that I just...
Published 9 months ago by Poppintops

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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sorry to disagree
In the linear notes, Lisitsa points out that in Russia, performances of Rachmaninov's works are butchered by being played too loud and too fast, and makes the same mistake here, at least as far as the tempo is concerned. The 5 pieces feel rushed and because of this clumsy, and I discern no rapport between the soloist and the orchestra. Moreover, the Decca 'tree' clearly...
Published 16 months ago by JohnH


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this for everybody for Christmas..............it is glorious perfection!, 4 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: The Piano Concertos / Paganini Rhapsody (Audio CD)
Valentina is not just a pretty girl in a pretty dress as some reviewers have stated. I am a classically trained musician so I am indeed familiar with many other recordings of these works, but this is something quite extraordinary. I don’t usually bother writing reviews of all the CD’s I buy because I listen to so much music and buy so many CDs that I just haven’t got time, but this CD is so special that I needed to add voice to those in support of Ms Lisitsa’s work. She has been true to the spirit of the composer, there’s none of the brash heavy, inappropriate interpretations here; this is lyrical, expressive, emotional and sublime romanticism undertaken with an extraordinary, intelligent technique. It arrived this morning and I’ve listened over and over………….weeping in many places (2nd movement of no 2 is just so sublime). I will buy this for all my friends for Christmas because I want to share this experience with everyone AND I will certainly buy more Valentina recordings as soon as they become available, she is a very special musician.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES, 7 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: The Piano Concertos / Paganini Rhapsody (Audio CD)
There are so many outstanding solo pianists at the moment that new superlatives are hard to find. Let me just say that the only improvement possible would be to hear her live or, failing that, see her performance on DVD. It is a great asset to have all four piano concertos in one collection.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sorry to disagree, 13 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: The Piano Concertos / Paganini Rhapsody (Audio CD)
In the linear notes, Lisitsa points out that in Russia, performances of Rachmaninov's works are butchered by being played too loud and too fast, and makes the same mistake here, at least as far as the tempo is concerned. The 5 pieces feel rushed and because of this clumsy, and I discern no rapport between the soloist and the orchestra. Moreover, the Decca 'tree' clearly never made it into the studio, for the recording to my ears is flat.

Mention elsewhere is made of the Ashkenazy-Previn recordings, which I have, but for pace, performance and sheer audio quality I would opt for the Ashkenazy-Haitink discs recorded with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, with Andrew Cornall and Colin Moorfoot supervising. These too are Decca recordings and they are stunning. And here, the relationship between soloist and orchestra is so evident in the playing that it lifts the pieces onto a completely different plane.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unbelievable value, 1 April 2013
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: The Piano Concertos / Paganini Rhapsody (Audio CD)
this is my 4th set of Rach PCs - it's also up at the top - sometimes it's the brass section and that fast pumping rhythm - sometimes it's the isolated piano part and Valentina's timing and phrasing and accents - sometimes it's the percussion section (you can hear things that aren't audible in other recordings) - and yet it's not the best engineered - audiophiles long for the 3 mics and set the level and don't mess with it - still - I have really enjoyed this - worth every penny - even if you have others
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power of propulsion and persuasiveness which no one has ever explored, and rich sounds as if it was the Bösendorfer, 17 Mar 2013
By 
Jun Hirakawa (Chiyoda-Ku, TOKYO, JAPAN Japan) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: The Piano Concertos / Paganini Rhapsody (Audio CD)
Rachy project recorded at the Abbey road studio all paid by herself before she made her Decca Classics debut which had come on a long journey and already became a legend of classic music scene. This CD set was materialised as she realised her debut by the Decca at last. Although she is a Bösendorfer player as well as Rachmaninoff, she used the Steinway Model D this time. But she must be particular about the sounds recorded at every second knowing well about the peculiarity of the extraordinary piano.

It is because all paid by herself, articulation can be listened here is of herself even though she exchanged interpretative ideas with Michael Francis conductor of this CD recording beforehand. Norman Lebrecht commended the First and Forth. He said "she teases out subtle shifts that are commonly blown away in a blizzard of notes. The First is palyed with a delicately calibrated rise of dynamic tension and the Fourth with an empathetic and profoundly moving sense of irredeemable exile." I totally agree with him. I think the Third is the highlight. Although it is a quicker tempo than usual, she keeps full of propulsive power thoughout every phrases which is convincing enough to move us deeply. All is due to her miraculous pianism. Additionally I'm not always satisfied with balance between orchestra and piano, e.g. third movement of the Third, around 10:00 of this CD (around 10:38 in the recording of Ashkenazy), clarinet makes conspicuous noisy melody which disturbs attention to the piano. The balance of this CD recording is perfect.

This is far from commercialism which produces something sweet and harmless. Virtuosity achieved here must be once in a handred years. I can say that nobody will outperforme her for a while. Goethe said "Something which seems demonish should't be idea, but rather natural. It must be by chance but at the same time completely inevitable." This is truely a masterpiece and audiophile of this century. Must-buy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 July 2014
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: The Piano Concertos / Paganini Rhapsody (Audio CD)
Very satisfied with all the deliveries
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Flashy but Frigid, 19 Mar 2013
By 
Entartete Musik (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Rachmaninov: The Piano Concertos / Paganini Rhapsody (Audio CD)
55 million views on YouTube do not a rounded interpreter make. That is the moral of the story of Ukrainian-born pianist and online phenomenon Valentina Lisitsa. Decca has now thrown her into the recording limelight, first capturing a live appearance at the Royal Albert Hall - an unsuitable venue for piano recitals - and this complete survey of the Rachmaninoff concertos. But for all Lisitsa's ostensible technique and bravura, there's little genuine emotion on offer here and, probably for the first time on record, Rachmaninoff leaves you cold.

First impressions are meant to last and, judging by the opening statements of the first piano concerto, Lisitsa begins well. Yet the passage work that follows is less clear and she often favours the wrong inner voice or the weighting within a chord. Similarly perplexing is the lack of communication between pianist and orchestra, as if they had been recorded in separate vacuums. And for all the brilliance of the first track, things quickly go downhill in the second concerto. The first movement lacks gravity, even if the LSO strings sound superb, while the ensuing Adagio is hard and hasty (plangent clarinet solo notwithstanding).

The third concerto is similarly brisk, in which Lisitsa and conductor Michael Francis perilously ignore Rachmaninoff's marking 'ma non tanto'. Where Pletnev or Argerich offer beautifully carved forms, Lisitsa gives blunt prose and ensemble continues to be somewhat slapdash. Added to which the production (captured at a separate session from the 1st and 2nd concertos) feels oddly fudgy. Faster passages struggle to sound and the orchestral textures are universally unclear.

While things improve in the finale - if never touching Pletnev's ebb and flow here or Argerich's wonderful cat and mouse antics - Lisitsa constantly short changes Rachmaninoff's emotional honesty. Few phrases have an exploratory or frank quality and she absolutely flattens the glorious 18th Paganini variation, in which the LSO is placed too far back to mollify the situation.

Being strong (though never sparkling) in spry showcases such as the finale to the fourth concerto is just not enough. Lisitsa cites 'the sheer variety of emotions and styles' in the accompanying notes; her approach, however, is relentlessly detached and unemotional. With so many great interpreters out there melding passion and panache - not least the composer himself - you'd do well to bypass these flashy but frigid performances.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Encore!, 15 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: The Piano Concertos / Paganini Rhapsody (Audio CD)
This is a fantastic CD with all of Rachmaninvov's piano concertos played with great warmth and style by Valentina Lisita and the London Symphony Orchestra. This is an album you'll want to play again and again. This lady plays with tremendous passion and if its passion you want then you will get it on this superb collection.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Piano Concertos, 23 July 2013
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: The Piano Concertos / Paganini Rhapsody (Audio CD)
Great music played by a great Pianist. I thought Rachmaninov fingering was great throughout the entire album and she did great justice to the music.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving experience, 10 May 2013
By 
Mr. Cedric Harries (Bristol England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: The Piano Concertos / Paganini Rhapsody (Audio CD)
My wife and I were moved by Valentina Lisitsa's rendering of this beautiful piece of music. We have played it many times already.
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Rachmaninov: The Piano Concertos / Paganini Rhapsody
Rachmaninov: The Piano Concertos / Paganini Rhapsody by Valentina Lisitsa (Audio CD - 2013)
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