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Rachmaninoff: Suites For Two Pianos, Etc / Ax, Bronfman


Release Date: 10/16/2001 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 61767   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Emanuel AxYefim Bronfman
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Like Ravel's piano originals that he subsequently orchestrated, Rachmaninov's two-piano version of Symphonic Dances sounds like a note-exact replica of the later symphonic score. Essentially the only thing missing is the chance to marvel at the composer's remarkable powers of orchestration. However, in compensation you get the enhanced clarity of textures that allows for fine delineation of all the intricate inner voices, especially as realized by Emanuel Ax and Yefim Bronfman, who beautifully elucidate Rachmaninov's winding, winsome, and wondrous tunes. However, if you're like me, you can't help but pine for the missing percussion in the outer movements, and no piano ever could imitate the snarling brass crescendos that open movement II. Read more Nonetheless, Ax and Bronfman make this Symphonic Dances a refreshingly alternative listening experience--as do Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire, though their faster speeds and self-conscious bravura make their performance more of a virtuoso showcase, something that also can be said for their Suite No. 2 with its breathless Waltz. Ax and Bronfman at least allow you to clearly discern all the notes in their noticeably less-excited rendition. But no need to worry: you get just as caught up in their potent projection of Rachmaninov's lush harmonies.


Later, Ax and Bronfman conjure up a startlingly vivid impression of church bells in the joyfully clangorous finale of the disc-ending Suite No. 1. All of this is faithfully and powerfully rendered by Sony's recording, which leaves adequate space around the instruments to make a cohesive, three-dimensional sound image (though not enough for satisfyingly deep bass). In sum, a gorgeously played and generous program (it would have filled two LPs in the '70s). Recommended for Rachmaninov lovers and piano fans alike.
--Victor Carr Jr., ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Suite for 2 Pianos no 1, Op. 5 "Fantaisie-tableaux" by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Emanuel Ax (Piano), Yefim Bronfman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/1999 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC 
Length: 22 Minutes 15 Secs. 
2.
Suite for 2 Pianos no 2, Op. 17 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Emanuel Ax (Piano), Yefim Bronfman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900-1901; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/1999 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC 
Length: 23 Minutes 37 Secs. 
3.
Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Emanuel Ax (Piano), Yefim Bronfman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1940; USA 
Date of Recording: 02/1999 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC 
Length: 32 Minutes 43 Secs. 

Sound Samples

I. Allegro
II. Andante con moto
III. Lento assai
I. Introduction
II. Waltz
III. Romance
IV. Tarantella
I. Barcarole
II. A Night for Love
III. Tears
IV. Russian Easter

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