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Rachmaninoff Plays Rachmaninoff


Release Date: 09/22/2009 
Label:  Rca Victor Red Seal Catalog #: 748971   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Fritz KreislerSergei RachmaninovNikolai Rimsky-KorsakovFelix Mendelssohn,   ... 
Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Zenph Studios applies its "re-performance" technology to a selection of Sergei Rachmaninov's flat discs for RCA Victor, recorded between 1921 and 1942. I described the company's process in an earlier review, and it bears reiterating. Zenph employs a software application that analyzes a recorded piano performance by separating its pianistic attributes from mechanical and environmental factors to an unprecedented degree of specificity and refinement. The information then is encoded to high-definition MIDI files that are played through a piano equipped to do so--in this case, a 1909 Steinway, painstakingly rebuilt by Faust Harrison Pianos.

How well do the Zenph re-performances replicate the originals? In one instance,
Read more perhaps a little too well: the split note near the beginning of Rachmaninov's 1942 Kreisler Liebesfreud here emerges clean as a whistle. Elsewhere, the phrasings, pedalings, dynamic relationships, and tempos appear accurate to an impressively high degree. However, certain rapid passages that project extraordinary lightness and point on disc sound slightly heavier via Zenph, such as The Flight of the Bumblebee's buzzing runs. Crescendos yield more pronounced sustain pedal and darker colorations on the disc version of the Tchaikovsky/Rachmaninov Lullaby Op. 16 No. 1. Certain detaché articulations in the Mendelssohn Midsummer Night's Dream Scherzo seem softer, less hard-hitting under Zenph's watch.

The re-performances are programmed twice: first in surround-sound, then again in two-channel stereo from the perspective of the pianist at the keyboard. Given Rachmaninov's perfectionist attitude in the recording studio, one wonders what he would have made of this fascinating and potentially controversial project.

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

1. Liebesleid by Fritz Kreisler
Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
Notes: Arranged for piano by Sergei Rachmaninov. 
2. Morceaux de fantaisies (5), Op. 3: no 2, Prélude in C sharp minor by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Russia 
3. Tale of Tsar Saltan: Suite, Op. 57 - Flight of the bumblebee by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; Russia 
Notes: Arranged for piano by Sergei Rachmaninov.  
4. Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61: Scherzo by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Germany 
Notes: Arranged for piano by Sergei Rachmaninov.  
5. Etudes-tableaux (9) for Piano, Op. 33: no 2 in C major by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Russia 
6. Etudes-tableaux (9) for Piano, Op. 33: no 7 in E flat major by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Russia 
7. Moments musicaux (6), Op. 16: no 2, Allegretto in E flat minor by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Russia 
8. Songs (6), Op. 38: no 3, Daisies by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1916; Russia 
9. Songs (6), Op. 16: no 1, Cradle song by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Notes: Arranged for piano by Sergei Rachmaninov.  
10. Partita for Violin solo no 3 in E major, BWV 1006: 1st movement, Prelude by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Notes: Arranged for piano by Sergei Rachmaninov. 
11. Partita for Violin solo no 3 in E major, BWV 1006: 3rd movement, Gavotte en rondeau by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Notes: Arranged for piano by Sergei Rachmaninov. 
12. Partita for Violin solo no 3 in E major, BWV 1006: 7th movement, Gigue by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Notes: Arranged for piano by Sergei Rachmaninov. 
13. Transcription of Kreisler's "Liebesfreud" for piano by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov (Piano)
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1921; Austria 
Notes: Arranged for piano by Sergei Rachmaninov. 

Featured Sound Samples

Etudes-tableaux for Piano, op 33 (Rachmaninov): No 7 in E flat
Violin Partita no 3 (Bach, arr Rachmaninov): I. Prelude

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