Concerto for Piano no 2 in C minor, Op. 18by Sergei Rachmaninov Performer:
Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: Russia Date of Recording: 1946 Notes: Composition written: Russia (1900 - 1901).
Concerto for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Performer:
Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: Russia Date of Recording: 1946 Notes: Composition written: Russia (1874 - 1875).
Moderato - Allegro
Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso
Allegro con fuoco
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Rubinstein Shines in these Popular ConcertosDecember 22, 2011By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH)See All My Reviews"World War II caused an abrupt slowdown in Arthur Rubinstein's recording schedule, as it did for everybody. Wartime rationing was in effect and the shellac and other materials needed to make records were in short supply. In 1946, with the war over, Rubinstein returned to the recording studios with a passion. Indeed, Rubinstein made more recordings in 1946 than he had during the entire course of the war.
This was Rubinstein's second of three recordings of Tchaikovsky's warhorse, and represents an about face in interpretive approach from the earlier version with Barbirolli (Volume 1 of the Rubinstein Collection). The earlier version, though undeniably exciting, was played rather sloppily and suffered from poor sound. These problems were a factor in RCA's decision to supersede the Rubinstein/Barbirolli version with the Horowitz/Toscanini recording made in 1941. Rubinstein was furious, and roundly criticized the latter performance as being artistically deficient and technically defective. (He was right on the second count: Side 6 of the 8 sided 78-RPM set was markedly off pitch with the rest of the concerto.) For a later recording of the Tchaikovsky, Rubinstein remarked about his change in approach, claiming that he wanted to "reestablish what a beautiful, beautiful piece it is." He also criticized the way certain pianists performed the piece as a mere virtuoso warhorse, and those who knew Rubinstein's history with his rival knew his verbal barbs were aimed squarely at Horowitz.
Rubinstein's 1946 performance is one of the more lyrical interpretations of Tchaikovsky's well-worn warhorse. The pianist certainly lets virtuoso fireworks burst from the keyboard when the music calls for it. But, phrasing, tempo, and dynamics bespeak of a kinder, gentler Tchaikovsky First. Dimitri Mitropolous and the minneapolis Symphony Orchestra do a fine job of accompaniment.
Rubinstein was, believe it or not, one of the first pianists to record Rachmaninoff's de rigeur Second Concerto (a work so popular, Horowitz refused to record it or even play it in public after leaving Russia in 1925). The worst thing one can do to any version of the Rachmaninoff Second is to compare it to the composer's own recordings (1924, acoustical; 1929, electrical), both made with Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Rubinstein gets somewhat less out of the piece, musically, than the composer. Nor does he have the superhuman technique heard in William Kapell's version. However, Rubinstein's three performances (this one, along with the Reiner version made in 1956 and the Ormandy version from 1971) can withstand this comparison better than most. Rubinstein's clear-headed, direct approach to the music serve as a reminder that the concerto was relatively new when this recording was made (the piece was composed in 1900, when Rubinstein was a teenager).
The recording heavily favors the piano, and the accoustic is dry, but the restoration has made the sound acceptable. "Report Abuse
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