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Another Rachmaninov triumph,
This review is from: Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos No.3 & No.4 (Audio CD)Leif Ove Andsnes won a Gramophone award in 2005 for his recording of Rachmaninov's First and Second Piano Concertos, led by Antonio Pappano and accompanied by the Berlin Philharmonic Rachmaninov Piano Concerto 1 and 2. For those wanting a 5.1 high resolution version of those performances, a DVD-Audio version is also still available - one of the few titles released by EMI called 'Extended Audio Discs' Piano Concertos 1 & 2 [DVD AUDIO]. In these concertos, Andsnes brought both grace and power together with brilliant technique. The advantage of the DVD-Audio disc is not only the higher resolution surround sound, but the addition of a tantalising glimpse of Andsnes rehearsing with the BPO and Pappano. If only EMI had filmed the whole rehearsal or the whole live performance, such is the magnetism of Andsnes.
Now, five years later, Andsnes and Pappano have collaborated again to record the Third and Forth Concertos, this time with the LSO. Andsnes says he loves working with Pappano as his extensive work in opera makes for a much more involving musical experience. This is borne out admirably, again, in this exciting new recording.
Many people will ask why we need another recording of these much recorded works. Andsnes himself previously recorded the Third Concerto fifteen years ago but felt that as he has grown emotionally, as well as artistically, he had something new to bring to these masterpieces. Both are incredibly difficult to play but Andsnes' interpretation is both magesterial and brilliant, in equal measure.
Despite being a studio recording where you would expect ideal conditions, this disc has a less than perfect recording balance (the orchestra - the strings in particular - seem poorly placed and captured and there are other annoying extraneous noises in the Third Concerto - Mr Andsnes heavy breathing it seems), which is very hard to understand. What were the engineers doing ? That being said, I feel this interpretation is so fine that it overshadows all other contenders. It has already been given the Gramophone Magazine 'Editor's Choice' Award, for what it's worth, and I think that will be only one of many other awards to come.