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Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos 1-4, Etc / Shelley, Et Al


Release Date: 01/24/2006 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 24130   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Howard Shelley
Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 34 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

With so many excellent Rachmaninov concerto recordings crowding the bins of late, you might consider Chandos' two-for-one reissue of Howard Shelley's 1989/90 cycle somewhat redundant. It's not. Abetted by richly atmospheric engineering, Shelley's intelligent, musicianly virtuosity enlightens, often inspires, and always satisfies. He's not quite so nimble as Kocsis, nor scintillating as Wild, nor should you expect the fire and ice of Zimerman's First Concerto or Michelangeli's Fourth. And despite the Scottish National Orchestra's robust sonority and the late Bryden Thomson's tasteful, idiomatic podium work, I miss the Hough/Litton edition's ravishing soloist/ensemble interplay, or the vivid detailing that distinguishes Antoni Wit's Read more conducting throughout Idil Biret's Naxos cycle.

Still, Shelley finds details that other pianists miss. For example, he brings noticeable variety of dynamic shadings and accents to the Paganini Rhapsody's solo part, while the orchestra gathers strength as the music progresses. The Second Concerto's finale easily holds its ground in the proverbial dazzle department, and the Third is a master-class in poise and proportion. Wisely, Shelley chooses the now-unfashionable leaner, simpler cadenza that Horowitz, Argerich, Kocsis, and the composer himself preferred. While my budget Rachmaninov cycle preference remains Kocsis/de Waart, Shelley/Thomson certainly is easy to live with, and its many virtues continue to wear well.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Piano no 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891/1917; Russia 
Venue:  Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland 
Length: 27 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland (12/01/1989 - 04/12/1990) 
2. Concerto for Piano no 2 in C minor, Op. 18 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Venue:  Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland 
Length: 33 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland (12/01/1989 - 04/12/1990)
Composition written: Russia (1900 - 1901). 
3. Concerto for Piano no 3 in D minor, Op. 30 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909; Russia 
Venue:  Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland 
Length: 41 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland (12/01/1989 - 04/12/1990) 
4. Concerto for Piano no 4 in G minor, Op. 40 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926/1941; USA 
Venue:  Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland 
Length: 26 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland (12/01/1989 - 04/12/1990) 
5. Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op. 43 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1934; USA 
Venue:  Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland 
Length: 24 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland (12/01/1989 - 04/12/1990) 

Sound Samples

Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1: I. Vivace
Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1: II. Andante
Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1: III. Allegro vivace
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40: I. Allegro
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40: II. Largo -
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40: III. Allegro vivace
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18: I. Moderato
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18: II. Adagio sostenuto
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18: III. Allegro scherzando
Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30: I. Allegro
Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30: II. Intermezzo: Adagio -
Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30: III. Finale: Allegro

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