Two Jorge Bolets existed. One was the reserved elder statesman who appeared in studio recordings; the other was a virtuoso firebrand who came alive in front of an audience. Bolet's June 30, 1969 Rachmaninov Third reveals the firebrand pretty close to his prime, on red hot form. Despite the boxy, clattering sound quality, Bolet's vital, spontaneous pianism proves far more impetuous and viscerally engaging than in his aristocratically sculpted yet somewhat diffident 1982 studio version with Ivan Fischer, with no loss in lyrical poetry. Sample the amazing rhythmic point and color he brings to the third-movement variations' cascading sequences, or hear the gorgeous inner voices he uncovers in the first movement's development section, and you'llRead more understand (if not necessarily agree with) Emil Gilels' citing Bolet as "the only great pianist in America."
Although Palexa credits no conductor, several discographies list one Charles Webb on the podium. Webb galvanizes his student musicians to play over their heads (the brass really let rip!), notwithstanding undernourished strings and more than a few moments of shaky orchestra/soloist coordination. The performers observe the once-traditional cuts, and Bolet opts for the easier (and to my mind superior) first-movement cadenza that the composer, Horowitz, Gilels, and Argerich favored.
The Liszt transcriptions comprise about two-thirds of a 1970 Ensayo release RCA brought out on LP under the title "Franz Liszt's Greatest Hits of the 1950s". It's also available on CD (Ensayo 3406). If you own the latter, don't de-collect it. While Palexa's remastering boasts less tape hiss and warmer bass presence, the piano's overtones are compromised in the process. Still, Bolet's creamy sonority and genius for textural differentiation unfold in the Schubert "Trout" and Verdi "Rigoletto" transcriptions with more thrust and dynamism than in the pianist's relatively logy Decca remakes. In essence, Bolet mavens will want to grab this live Rachmaninov Third, warts and all.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano no 3 in D minor, Op. 30by Sergei Rachmaninov Performer:
Jorge Bolet (Piano)
Indiana University Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1909; Russia Date of Recording: 1969 Notes: This selection is a mono recording.
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