Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Van Cliburn at his best?, 13 Feb. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Beethoven: Emperor' Concerto, Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2 (Audio CD)
I recently acquired an RCA 7 1/2 ips reel to reel tape issued in 1962 solely of the Rachmaninov and was very disappointed at the sound, particularly as regards the balance between the piano and orchestra, which puts the piano in your living room and the orchestra next door! In quiet passages I was straining to hear the orchestra at times.

Commenting on this to an American collector of tapes I was told that his copy was exceptional (but still had balance problems) and what I was describing to him rather indicated my tape was a substandard transfer or had deteriorated over the years, a problem particularly with RCA's, it would seem. Checking the availability of a recording on Living Stereo I can across this CD. And what a difference!

Yes, there is still a balance problem with a larger than life piano, but I was able to listen directly to what the sound engineer intended, not via my old tape. And what you hear is a wonderful interpretation by Cliburn, devoid of bravura for its own sake and simply letting the music speak for itself. At first blush, Rachmaninov's 2nd doesn't immediately throw up virtuoso passages for the pianist, and this can lead to some to try and rectify it by increasing scale and tension which the composer didn't write. Not so with Cliburn, who subordinates his formidable technique to the benefit of the music.

The surprise, though, is the Beethoven, a version I hadn't heard before. The orchestral balance is better, with the ambiance of Orchestra Hall, Chicago, brilliantly retained in RCA's remastering. But it is again Cliburn's pianistic skills which, for me, have shed new light on this wonderful Beethoven concerto. The wonderful shading of colour, deftness of touch where needed, and nothing flashy simply for the sake of it. And let's not overlook Reiner's sympathetic accompinament to both of these works.

All in all, then, a wonderful record of the art of Van Cliburn, captured at Orchestra Hall, Chicago. The sound quality of these recordings, engineered by Lewis Layton, whom my American contact tells me was one of the best of his era, is beautiful, and not to be compared with Cliburns' Carnegie Hall recordings, which are inferior in sound.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

5.0 out of 5 stars (4 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Birmingham, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,219