Notes and Editorial Reviews
Given the general excellence of Bernd Glemser's Rachmaninov concerto cycle with Antoni Wit on Naxos, the pianist's serious-minded affinity for the solo works on this disc does not surprise. In the opening selection, the Corelli Variations, Glemser's carefully considered tempo relationships and transitions create an almost symphonic unity and cumulative arc from one variation to the next. Rubatos are spaced in gradual steps that could be likened to easing one's foot on the brake in anticipation of a red light or a curve in the road. Glemser grasps the composer's huge chords and tricky leaps with consummate ease, while his knack for tone color never turns garish.
For the Second sonata, Glemser largely follows
Rachmaninov's original 1913 text, but he also incorporates bits and pieces from the 1931 revision. Again, Glemser's command, intelligence, and innate musicality hardly can be faulted, save for a finale that's slightly earthbound when heard next to the greater scintillation and volatile dynamic contrasts Friedrich Höricke (MDG) and Yevgeny Sudbin (BIS) offer. However, the slow movement stands out for Glemser's ravishing melodic projection and masterful legato pedaling.
Aristocratic phrasing and superb textural differentiation distinguish the Op. 3 pieces. Indeed, Glemser's sustained long lines and transparent sonority make the Elégie and Mélodie sound faster than they actually time out. Conversely, Vladimir Ashkenazy's more massive, subjectively inflected interpretations take less playing time yet sound slower. My earlier comments about spacing apply to the popular C-sharp minor Prelude, where Glemser's tonal control justifies his measured tread. My only nits to pick concern Glemser's fussing around with Polichinelle's basic pulse, and a softer-grained Sérénade than I'd prefer. To supplement Op. 3, Glemser concludes his recital with Rachmaninov's more elaborate revisions of the Mélodie and Sérénade. The booklet notes are poorly written and translated, but the engineering is excellent. Recommended.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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