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Rachmaninov: Etudes-tableaux / Howard Shelley

Rachmaninov / Shelley
Release Date: 09/13/2011 
Label:  Helios   Catalog #: 55403   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Howard Shelley
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Shelley always produces a beautiful tone. He also responds well to this music's highly rhythmic character and leaves us in no doubt of the originality of the keyboard writing.

Rachmaninov's Etudes-tableaux, Opp. 33 and 39 stand with the equivalent Scriabin and Szymanowski pieces at the end of the nineteenth-century tradition of such compositions. As such they make extreme demands on players, and their concentration requires listeners' close attention also. In this case the attention will be rewarded, for, having lately heard again all the LPs in Shelley's Hyperion Rachmaninov series, I think this the finest achievement among them. His interpretation cannot match the seemingly magical virtuosity of Richter
Read more (Eurodisc/Target Records 205 458, 10/84) in, say, Op. 33 No. 5, but the latter's is not a complete set. Shelley, anyhow, is altogether in command, as a piece such as Op. 39 No. 3 shows, as does his riding of the several types of pianistic storm that Rachmaninov sets up—Opp. 33 No. 9 and 39 and No. 1, for example.

Shelley always produces a beautiful tone, as in the meditative Op. 33 No. 3, drawing out the lyrical essence of Op. 39 No. 2; and it is a good thing that he is so well recorded. He also responds well to this music's highly-rhythmic character, as in Op. 33 Nos. I and 7, and leaves us in no doubt of the originality of the keyboard writing, as in Opp. 33 No. 5 or 39 No. 7. Another admirable trait, as Op. 39 No. 4 shows, is his intelligent rubato and, indeed, one's reservations are few. For instance, the final B flat of Op. 33 No. 6 is barely audible, and the phrase in descending sixths in Op. 33 No. 8 should be more impulsive. But such small-scale points ought not to cause anyone interested in Rachmaninov to hesitate over this LP.

– Gramophone [11/1984]
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Works on This Recording

Etudes-tableaux (9) for Piano, Op. 33 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/1983 
Length: 21 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Etudes-tableaux (9) for Piano, Op. 39 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1916-1917; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/1983 
Length: 36 Minutes 0 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Études-tableaux, op 33: No 7 in E flat
Études-tableaux, op 39: No 1 in C minor

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