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The Classic Composers Series CD

2.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Joyce Hatto, Adolf Drescher
  • Orchestra: The Pro Musica Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: George Hurst, George Richter
  • Composer: Rachmaninov
  • Audio CD (18 May 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Pegasus Entertainment
  • ASIN: B0025YJKGO
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 350,988 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Moderato
  2. Adagio Sostenuto
  3. Allegro Scherzando
  4. Prelude In G Minor Op.23/5 Solo Piano - Adolf Drescher
  5. Prelude In G Sharp Minor Op.32/12 Solo Piano - Adolf Drescher
  6. Prelude In C Sharp Minor Op.3/2 Solo Piano - Adolf Drescher
  7. Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini Op.43, 18th Variation

Product Description

R. Rachmaninov - The Classic Composers Series

Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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A very good CD whoever the pianist is. I have many versions of the Rachmaninov piano concerto no. 2 and this one rates well. The rest of the CD is also excellent.
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As Trevor Harvey, the original reviewer in the Gramophone wrote in August 1961 'a.... small, rather pallid performance'. George Hurst was an excellent conductor who many will remember for his regular broadcast concerts with his BBC Northern Orchestra around the time he made this recording, and it is a pity that there are not more recordings of his work available, and that one which is is this one where he is working with a pianist with whom, to quote the Gramophone review again, '..one wonders whether her technique is really on top of the difficulties of this music.' The recording may be of interest as an example of a real example on CD of the work of Joyce Hatto, who became temporarily notorious more than forty years after this recording was made. Apparently the orchestra here was a group based on members of the excellent Northwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra.
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I bought this CD to find out if it really was by Joyce Hatto and, if so, what her playing was like. The recent TV drama about her and the fraudulent CDs put out in her name (Loving Miss Hatto) had prompted an interest. I was also intrigued to discover the accusation from two earlier Amazon reviewers that the Rachmaninov Second piano concerto was not by her.
Now, I'm no audio detective (and there are plenty of forensics outlined on the internet about the fraudulent discs), and I don't have the original Saga LP to compare, but it strikes me as more than likely that this Rachmaninov Two is by Joyce Hatto. Contrary to what J Groves claims, the sound is certainly not modern and "digital"; even by early-1960s standards it's pretty poor. Yes, it's stereo, but overall the sound is congested; the piano distorts and weirdly moves around the stereo picture. As for the performance, you sense a pianist focused on getting the notes right, unable to inject any personality or sparkle into the interpretation. The orchestral accompaniment is competent.
The Hatto Rachmaninov concerto recordings that have been demonstrated to be a fraud turned out to be 1990s recordings by Yefim Bronfman with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen. You can hear snippets at the Pristine Classical website: the contrast could not be greater and this is quite definitely not one of them.
As for the remainder of the disc, the three Preludes by Adolf Drescher are played with a command lacking in the concerto, but the recording is old, mono and deadened by the efforts to remove the background noise. For the Paganini variation, no pianist is credited; the recording is in stereo but is thin and wiry.
No pleasure is to be got from this CD unless you want to claim you own a recording by the (now notorious) Joyce Hatto.
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