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Rachmaninoff: Corelli Variations; Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Prokofiev: Sonata No. 2 / Ohlsson

Rachmaninoff / Prokofiev / Ohlsson
Release Date: 02/09/2010 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9320  
Composer:  Sergei RachmaninovModest MussorgskySergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Garrick Ohlsson
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

While others may bring more panache and kinetic sweep to the Rachmaninov Corelli Variations and Prokofiev Second sonata than Garrick Ohlsson, his rhythmic discipline, strong harmonic awareness, and astute ear for tone color pay insightful musical dividends. In the Rachmaninov, for example, the first two variations' Bach-like thread effortlessly dovetails into Variation 3's wry humor. Ohlsson's seemingly plodding pace for Variation 5 actually provides a base from which the following two variations can build. The only time when Ohlsson's architectural awareness slips into static languor occurs in the lyrical Variations 15 through 17.

Although Ohlsson takes the Prokofiev Sonata's second and fourth movements relatively slowly,
Read more his measured pace allows more dramatic differentiation between marcato and legato passages. The austere slow movement often comes across as no more than melody and chordal accompaniment, but Ohlsson pays heed to the keyboard writing's inner voices, and duly gauges the climaxes in linear terms.

Lastly, an unbridled, big-boned 1974 live performance of Pictures at an Exhibition captures a younger, more impetuous Ohlsson on top form. The sonorous climaxes of Bydlo, the Market Place at Limoges, and the final two movements make a forceful impact without the least splintering or banging. By contrast, Tuileries and the Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks are light, supple, and curvaceous. Furthermore, the Czech Radio archival recording captures Ohlsson's huge, singing tone with flattering concert-hall realism. Although there's much to savor from the 60-something Ohlsson's Rachmaninov and Prokofiev, the young whippersnapper's Mussorgsky ultimately steals the show.

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

1.
Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op. 42 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Garrick Ohlsson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1931; USA 
2.
Pictures at an Exhibition for Piano by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Garrick Ohlsson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Russia 
3.
Sonata for Piano no 2 in D minor, Op. 14 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Garrick Ohlsson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; Russia 

Sound Samples

Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: I. Theme
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: II. Variation - I
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: III. Variation - II
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: IV. Variation - III
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: V. Variation - IV
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: VI. Variation - V
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: VII. Variation - VI
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: VIII. Variation - VII
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: IX. Variation - VIII
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: X. Variation - IX
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: XI. Variation - X
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: XII. Variation - XI
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: XIII. Variation - XII
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: XIV. Variation - XIII
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: XV. Intermezzo
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: XVI. Variation - XIV
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: XVII. Variation - XV
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: XVIII. Variation - XVI
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: XIX. Variation - XVII
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: XX. Variation XVIII
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: XXI. Variation XIX
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42: XXII. Variation XX
Piano Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 14: I. Allegro
Piano Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 14: II. Scherzo - Allegro marcato
Piano Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 14: III. Andante
Piano Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 14: IV. Vivace
Pictures at an Exhibition: I. Promenade
Pictures at an Exhibition: II. The Gnome
Pictures at an Exhibition: III. Promenade
Pictures at an Exhibition: IV. The Old Castle
Pictures at an Exhibition: V. Promenade
Pictures at an Exhibition: VI. Tuileries
Pictures at an Exhibition: VII. Promenade
Pictures at an Exhibition: VIII. Bydlo
Pictures at an Exhibition: IX. Unhatched Chickens
Pictures at an Exhibition: X. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmulye
Pictures at an Exhibition: XI. Promenade
Pictures at an Exhibition: XII. Market Place at Limoges
Pictures at an Exhibition: XIII. Catacombae - Sepulchrum Romanum
Pictures at an Exhibition: XIV. Con mortuis in lingua mortua
Pictures at an Exhibition: XV. Baba-Yaga
Pictures at an Exhibition: XVI. Great Gate of Kiev

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