Top positive review
One person found this helpful
Valentina goes Olympic - Wow?, then WOW!
on 8 December 2012
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'.