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Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2; Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Hybrid SACD

4.5 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

Price: £6.90 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (7 Mar. 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B000787WZ6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,804 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. 1. Moderato
  2. 2. Adagio sostenuto
  3. 3. Allegro scherzando
  4. Introduction
  5. Variation 1
  6. Theme
  7. Variation 2
  8. Variation 3
  9. Variation 4
  10. Variation 5
  11. Variation 6
  12. Variation 7
  13. Variation 8
  14. Variation 9
  15. Variation 10
  16. Variation 11
  17. Variation 12
  18. Variation 13
  19. Variation 14
  20. Variation 15
  21. Variation 16
  22. Variation 17
  23. Variation 18
  24. Variation 19
  25. Variation 20
  26. Variation 21
  27. Variation 22
  28. Variation 23
  29. Variation 24
  30. 1. Moderato
  31. 2. Adagio sostenuto
  32. 3. Allegro scherzando
  33. Introduction
  34. Variation 1
  35. Theme
  36. Variation 2
  37. Variation 3
  38. Variation 4
  39. Variation 5
  40. Variation 6
  41. Variation 7
  42. Variation 8
  43. Variation 9
  44. Variation 10
  45. Variation 11
  46. Variation 12
  47. Variation 13
  48. Variation 14
  49. Variation 15
  50. Variation 16
  51. Variation 17
  52. Variation 18
  53. Variation 19
  54. Variation 20
  55. Variation 21
  56. Variation 22
  57. Variation 23
  58. Variation 24
  59. 1. Moderato
  60. 2. Adagio sostenuto
  61. 3. Allegro scherzando
  62. Introduction
  63. Variation 1
  64. Theme
  65. Variation 2
  66. Variation 3
  67. Variation 4
  68. Variation 5
  69. Variation 6
  70. Variation 7
  71. Variation 8
  72. Variation 9
  73. Variation 10
  74. Variation 11
  75. Variation 12
  76. Variation 13
  77. Variation 14
  78. Variation 15
  79. Variation 16
  80. Variation 17
  81. Variation 18
  82. Variation 19
  83. Variation 20
  84. Variation 21
  85. Variation 22
  86. Variation 23
  87. Variation 24

Product Description

LANG LANG / GERGIEV / MARIINSK

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I just can't believe DG has released this record with such obvious problems.
First, the piano is overstated - mics are probably way too close and as a result the piano sound is poor in terms of clarity throughtout the recording (except perhaps in the pp and ppp passages); in fact, it just doesn't sound like a concert Steinway, rather like a prep school babygrand.
Second, the orchestra sounds distant; it doesn't blend well with the piano.
Last but not least, Lang Lang's interpretation, whilst technically correct, is just disappointing: phrasing and articulation is not in the great masters style that we all know - it almost seems he lacks inspiration - it is rather a show off of his dexterity. This is unfortunate because I have seen Lang Lang live at the RAH, and he did a superb interpretation that day (plus his favorit Liszt encores !)
Any positives? ... let me just say that the orchestra sounds very fine (although distant) and is brilliantly conducted.
All in all, I just can't believe DG has released such a crippled record - Lang Lang should record it again it (with a decent producer), and this one should be recalled away from the market (and buyers like myself refunded). All these problems are exacerbated if you listen in two channels - multichannel helps by providing greater clarity to the piano - all in all 1 star in stereo; 2 in multichanel.
I guess I will keep this record as a case study of what can go wrong in top budget classical music recording.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I really wanted to respect this recording. On paper there seems to be so much to admire, but its execution - both performance and recording - make it certain this disc is destined to be an also run.

Technically the recording is so biased in favour of the piano that the concerto, in places, seems to become wholly a work for solo piano. Further - and a major problem - it seems the piano is either over-miked or that the producers have opted for forceful compression of the signals, making for significant distortion in the upper registers. This alone would be enough to discard this recording. But worse is to come ...

It makes no sense to approach this concerto with a level of interpretative revisionism such that the psychodrama that underscores the work is all but removed. But this is exactly what appears to take place in this performance. Lang Lang appears to wish to erase the inherent internal tensions, the essentially human struggle at the centre of Rachmaninov's masterpiece, and to replace it with a notionally clinical excellence. Frankly I would rather have the odd bum note and gain the humanity, than endure the sterilisation of perfection. Anyway, of course perfection, as such, doesn't exist in this context. It's always going to come down to interpretation, so even with its inevitable technical limitations, I would opt for Van Cliburn's histoical recording which is infinitely superior to Lang Lang's.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a furore this recording has caused; reviews range from the adulatory to brutally critical. Michael F has made some telling points, and perhaps I may add my judgement.
The very slow opening of the concerto is a precursor of what is to come, a very romanticised view of the work. Lang Lang evidently has strong views on the emotional content of the music, and attempts to wring every last ounce from it. Gergiev backs him all the way. In doing so, much of the fire and bite in this work is lost. There are moments of great beauty, and flashes of brilliance in some faster, louder sections, but large sections sound subdued and torpid. There is no gainsaying Lang's technique and one can admire much in that department (including in the opening chords, which he doesn't arpeggiate, as some find it necessary to do). But what of the composer? To misquote Star Trek's Scottie, 'It's Rachmaninov, Jim, but not as we know it'.
The Rhapsody sits more comfortably with me - after all, Lang Lang's style so far could have been described as rhapsodic with some justification. As in the concerto, he doesn't manage the 'cut and thrust' with the orchestra as well as some, but that may be exacerbated by the recording.
I would not criticise the piano sound greatly but it is certainly balanced to the fore and more closely miked than the orchestra. Whether the Mariinsky strings have decided to follow Rachmaninov to America and adopt the US style, or the recording has been given the Hollywood treatment, the overall effect is very plush, smooth and glossy. There is some beautiful playing, but all is wrapped up in a cloying veil behind the piano. Nevertheless, balance in the orchestra, frequency and dynamic range, and ambience, are all more than acceptable.
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By A Customer on 13 Mar. 2005
Format: Audio CD
The dream team of Valery Gergiev, Lang Lang and the orchestra of the Mariinsky theatre is pure enchantment and the sound quality is astounding.
I have never heard these pieces performed so beautifully before. They touch every nerve with their intoxicating mix of emotions - so brutally honest in the delivery - forcing you to feel the fear, doubt, grief, sadness and joy that Rachmaninov himself must have felt in order to write them. I don't know anything about classical music technically - but I know it should move you - and this does... It moves you to the very core!
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