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Notes and Editorial Reviews
This selection received a Grammy Award nomination for "Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra)."
This selection is available in standard CD, Super Audio CD and Mini Disc formats.
Arcadi Volodos' concerto recording debut is an involving and exciting Rachmaninov Third which is quite unlike any of the other classic accounts that come to mind. Not for him the manic intensity of Horowitz or the hell-bent impetuosity of Argerich, this particular virtuoso has his own signature gifts, a golden tone that never tarnishes under duress, a mastery of overall form that might be viewed as restraint, and then of course, the killer technique. In this last regard Volodos truly sets himself apart, for his magic is not all speed and
power. One is often held breathless by his control in quiet moments, especially where the combination of dexterity and delicacy is called for, and he revels in passage work, making every note count and shine where other pianist seem to merely be moving on to get to the next big hurdle. Then, when the big hurdles of the "Rach III" arrive, Volodos dispatches them with such level command that one is truly awed. No wonder the live Berlin audience breaks into hysterics at the end. They, like you, are lucky to be alive to hear this. Read less
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano no 3 in D minor, Op. 30 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Arcadi Volodos (Piano)
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1909; Russia
Date of Recording: 06/1999
Venue: Live Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
Length: 41 Minutes 3 Secs.
Prelude for Piano in D minor, Op. posthumous by Sergei Rachmaninov
Arcadi Volodos (Piano)
Written: 1917; Russia
Date of Recording: 01/2000
Venue: Teldec Studio, Berlin, Germany
Length: 2 Minutes 29 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Good, But Not Outstanding December 22, 2011
By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH) See All My Reviews
"Arcadi Volodos has made something of a name for himself in virtuoso circles lately as "the NEW Horowitz." One can certainly understand why, since he seems to specialize in playing Horowitz's transcriptions and repertoire associated with the late Russian virtuoso. So, it was expected that Volodos would eventually record Rachmaninoff's Third Concerto, which for nearly 60 years was Horowitz' signature Concerto.
The results here are suprisingly mixed. James Levine (not usually associated with this composer) and the Berlin Philharmonic do an excellent job of collaborating with the soloist, with superb playing from the strings and woodwinds. Though this Concerto is best known for virtuoso piano fireworks, it is one of most sensitevely orchestrated Concertos in the repertoire, so the accompaniment is crucial.
Volodos certainly has the measure of the work's difficulties--few have ever played this piece as well, technically. In a number of the work's more challenging sections, he exceeds even Horowitz. There are wonderful voicings and various felicities which will delight fellow pianists who have ever tried to play this monster Concerto. The problem here is that Volodos fails to integrate these details into the Concerto as a whole, which prevents this performance being of the very top rank. Phrasing is of the type Horowitz used to call "red light, green light--stop and go." In addition, he plays Rachmaninoff's alternate cadenza, which although pianistically wonderful, simply is out of place in the Concerto--one of the reasons Rachmaninoff himself didn't play it.
Listeners wanting a top flight Rachmaninoff Third are advised to pursue these versions: Horowitz/Reiner (RCA, 1951--the sound is far from first rate. but the performance remains the best on record); the composer's own recording with Ormandy; Guitierez/Maazel (Telarc, the best version in modern sound).
The solo pieces make an outstanding makeweight here--indeed the music making is on a higher lever here than in the Concerto. Phrasing is more natural than in the concerto, and the performances on the whole are more noteworthy. Volodos' own arrangement of the slow movement from Rachmaninoff's Cello Sonata demonstrates that he's an excellent transcriber in his own right.
The sound in the Concerto is bizarre, the piano seemeing to move around the stage. In loud passages, it is more naturally balanced, but in pianissimo passages, it virtually dissappears into a black hole. The solo pieces sound better. "