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Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 2; Etudes Tableaux; Preludes

Rachmaninov / Grimaue / Rpo / Patric
Release Date: 01/31/2012 
Label:  Dal Segno   Catalog #: 63   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud
Conductor:  Jesús Lopez-Cobos
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 2. Piano Sonata No. 2 (1931 version). Études-Tableaux , op. 33. Preludes: in b?, op. 32/2; in g? , op. 32/12 Hélène Grimaud (pn); Jesús Lopez-Cobos, cond; Royal PO DAL SEGNO DSPRCD 063 (77:52)

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I reviewed these performances in Fanfare 29:2, my first issue as a contributor to this magazine, as part of a five-CD set of Hélène Grimaud’s 1985–92 Denon recordings on Brilliant Classics. At that time I called the solo works—recorded when the pianist was 15—“authoritative readings,” and found the concerto “refreshingly clear-eyed and understated.” I still find the sonata lyrical and unforced; where many pianists make a virtuoso vehicle of this piece, Grimaud provides straightforward, unmannered music-making. The Études-Tableaux is likewise clear-headed and tasteful, although lacking something of the subtlety and depth of the 1977–81 Ashkenazy readings. This latter impression is reinforced by the bright, somewhat bass-shy recording. The concerto receives a thoroughly idiomatic reading if not a particularly profound one.


Brilliant’s set is, as I write this, available from ArkivMusic for only $25, so serious piano collectors may wish to obtain these recordings, and a good deal more, that way. Either way, this CD remains a valuable document of a remarkable artist at the beginning of her career, and the performances stand on their own merit. Recommended if you missed it the first couple of times around.


FANFARE: Richard A. Kaplan
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Works on This Recording

1. Etude-tableau for Piano in C minor, Op. posth by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Russia 
2. Etude-tableau for Piano in D minor, Op. posth by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Russia 
3. Preludes (13) for Piano, Op. 32: no 2 in B flat minor, Allegretto by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; Russia 
4. Sonata for Piano no 2 in B flat minor, Op. 36 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913/1931; Russia 
5. Etudes-tableaux (9) for Piano, Op. 33 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Russia 
6. Preludes (13) for Piano, Op. 32: no 12 in G sharp minor, Allegro by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; Russia 
7. Concerto for Piano no 2 in C minor, Op. 18 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Conductor:  Jesús Lopez-Cobos
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 06/1992 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 33 Minutes 39 Secs. 

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