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Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos 2 & 4 / Ashkenazy, Haitink


Release Date: 02/10/1986 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 414475   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Ashkenazy's own experience as accompanist, chamber musician and conductor contributes to a truly integrated performances — as powerfully expansive and intense as it is hauntingly delicate and beautiful.

A concerto as frequently heard as Rachmaninov's No. 2 needs true friends to remind us of its real worth. Of the two latest contenders, I would say that whereas Duchable never fails to reaffirm its composer as a powerfully equipped, firmly disciplined international virtuoso, Ashkenazy, a compatriot, sees farther into the music's Russian soul. Tempo plays its part. How much more of the opening theme's tragic inevitability, its nobility, comes across from Ashkenazy and his mellow Dutch colleagues just by strict observance
Read more of Rachmaninov's own moderato metronome marking. This is no less plain when the theme returns (alla marcia) as the movement's central climax. And how much more of the second subject's true nostalgia emerges from Ashkenazy's tenderly simple, dream-like longing... [I]n the slow movement I think Ashkenazy finds a deeper and more natural calm at the prescribed minim 52 than the slower Duchable, whose accompanying triplets draw too much attention to themselves and whose melodic line sounds too static...

For the first-time buyer I would certainly recommend the new Ashkenazy/Haitink issue in preference to the legendary Richter/Wislocki performance on DG, which now begins to betray signs of age in quality of sound as well as bringing several vagaries of tempo... I, personally, would also choose the new Decca issue in preference to Ashkenazy's richly—and so rightly—praised 1972 recording with the LSO and Previn: the new one strikes me as marginally more poised in small details of rubato, a little more expansive in overall conception...

Much, of course, depends on what you want as coupling. Ashkenazy and Haitink opt for Rachmaninov's more symphonically conceived fourth and last concerto, where Ashkenazy's own experience as accompanist, chamber musician and conductor contributes to one of the most closely integrated performances I've ever heard—as powerfully expansive and intense in climaxes as it is hauntingly delicate and beautiful in more intimate nostalgia. The scoring itself allows you to marvel anew at Haitink's Concertgebouw: timbre and phrasing are quite exceptional in exposed dialogue with the keyboard. Again, I'm reluctant to describe this performance or recording as 'better' than Ashkenazy's earlier Decca LP (coupled with the Paganini Variations). But again, I myself would choose the new one for the exceptional ripeness of tone combined with clarity, no less than its suggestion of deeper undercurrents than before. The misterioso theme of the slow movement certainly brings home this last point.

-- Joan Chissell, Gramophone [4/1986]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in C minor, Op. 18 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano)
Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 4 in G minor, Op. 40 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano)
Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926/1941; USA 

Sound Samples

Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18: 1. Moderato
Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18: 2. Adagio sostenuto
Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18: 3. Allegro scherzando
Piano Concerto No.4 in G minor, Op.40: 1. Allegro vivace (Alla breve)
Piano Concerto No.4 in G minor, Op.40: 2. Largo
Piano Concerto No.4 in G minor, Op.40: 3. Allegro vivace

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Beautiful classic June 13, 2013 By P. Adams (Titus, AL) See All My Reviews "I find myself moving to the rhythms of the various movements. They are so expressive! I'm glad I oredered this one!" Report Abuse
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