For those for whom his piano concertos No2 and No3 have become slightly hackneyed (wonderful though they may be), Rachmaninov's No1 is a refreshing, even astringent, display of lyricism and fireworks - it may even be more virtuosic than Nos 2 and 3. I hadn't known No1 previously and am delighted to have discovered it. (I suppose I ought now to discover No4!)
Before I bought this recording I looked at Valentina Lisitsa's website and enjoyed reading about her background and association with Rachmaninov's music. There were a couple of video clips of her as she talked about and played this Rachmaninov and the Paganini Variations, and so when I finally downloaded this recording I found myself visualising the manner in which she performs - expression, mannerisms, physical approach. It is as though I am watching her performance as well as listening to it.
Just to hear Lisitsa, though, is to be dazzled by her technical brilliance - in certain passages, sparks fly from her fingers - and her lyricism. As an interpreter of Rachmaninov, I would have thought, she must be right up in the top rank.
An absolute pleasure; I thoroughly recommend this recording.