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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valentina goes Olympic - Wow?, then WOW!, 8 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.3 (MP3 Download)
At the first hearing I confess I was left breathless and on edge by the vivid tempo of the first movement where Valentina exceeds Martha Argerich's controversial pace, and all but matches it in the third movement. (Check the respective track times for each artist - Valentina's are shorter). I found myself distractedly wondering if she had a train to catch, or was paying for studio time by the second. I don't want to be distracted like this, I much prefer to be sucked into the passionate swirl and tidal wash of Rachmaninov, as well as to drift around the misty melancholic oxbow sweeps in his musical river. Instead I became preoccupied with whether the soloist and orchestra would be perfunctorily tossed out of their white water raft...

However that was strictly first impressions. After a third listen, once my brain had adjusted to the Olympic style of attack I began to marvel at the emerging musicality of this distinctive and original performance. It's all here, whether it be delicate stacatto tracery, limpid lyricism or virtuosic crescendos that you seek. Thanks to that fabulous Bosendorfer grand (it is, isn't it?) and Valentina's courage to really give it its fully pedalled head in the first movement cadenza, the reverberating soundworld in my headphones temporarily flipped from oceanic to inter-galactic.

Great, greater, greatest performance of Rach 3? Listen and decide for yourselves. I simply feel privileged to be alive and still kicking at a time when a performance of this calibre is released. Moreover (not that it really matters) it currently comes at fraction of the price of the benchmark Argerich version. I for one can't wait for the rest of Valentina's 'Rachmaninov project'.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Dec 2012 11:51:44 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Dec 2012 12:24:51 GMT
Harveys, I literally discovered this release an hour ago and was going to contact you. I have just downloaded it. I am glad to see that you have beaten me to it. PS I hope that she is going to do the Paganini vars. and the orchestrations of the Elegaique trio and Corelli Vars. (see Jarvi on Chandos in Detroit) Enjoy. Tom.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Dec 2012 13:12:17 GMT
Tom, I wish she would record both Rachmaninov's sonatas. I have seen #1 on YouTube and it's truly fabulous. But no sign so far that she is going to unleash #2 on an unsuspecting public...

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Dec 2012 13:24:33 GMT
Harveys, I think that she probably will. I would not be surprised to see another DVD recital of all Russian music and she is gaining a reputation as one of the world's foremost Rach. interpreters. Where has she been all these years? I know that being in exile in the USA probably does not help your European reputation. It is a bit like when Jarvi was allowed out of the USSR and descended upon Glasgow like a bombshell. The SNO recordings of all of the DSCH & Prokofiev Syms. was extraordinary with Chandos. Still worth exploring. I collect nearly all of his recordings. He comes back to see us for a concert every year and has been recording orchestral conflations of Wagner with us. Great, if you don't want endless hours of bum-numbing screeching. Tom.

Posted on 21 Oct 2013 14:46:38 BDT
It's not her usual Bosendorfer, rather a specially imported Steinway (if memory serves).

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2013 21:41:01 BDT
Hi there, I didn't know that. The performance doesn't particularly shout Steinway. Could it be possible that if you usually play one brand that you can make it sound like the other. I am no pianist, so I am merely speculating. She is bringing out a new Rachmaninov recital cd. Let me know if you can find out whether it is a B. or a S. Thanks for the info. Tom.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Oct 2013 13:23:54 BDT
I only "know" about the piano because on her YouTube page there are a number of links to the recording process, and I recall that she borrowed (or hired) the piano which is, I further understand, a rather unusual Steinway.

As for whether you can make a Steinway sound like a Bosendorfer - well, I'm no piano technician (though I am a pianist of sorts) but you can change the sound of a piano quite considerably. What you cannot do is add the extra notes in the bass of a Bosendorfer Imperial!
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