Recorded during live concert performances, Lang Lang's second Telarc release justifies all the positive buzz surrounding this young pianist's rapidly ascending international career. He brings plenty of finger power and long-lined drama to Rachmaninov's ubiquitous Third Concerto, yet takes plenty of time to let the lyrical, soaring tunes spin without an inkling of self-indulgence. He admirably adjusts the piano part to accompany when he doesn't bear the melodic burden, and he gets more expressive mileage from transitions than many pianists do. For once, the thicker, more difficult first movement cadenza doesn't sound unwieldy and elephantine. The piano is a little too prominent in the mix next to Temirkanov's sensitively detailed, flowing orchestral support. While Lang Lang has not fully internalized the quivering underbelly of Scriabin's passionate keyboard writing, his poised and secure readings of 10 Etudes still boast plenty of dynamism, idiomatic nuance, and roaring, Horowitz-like octaves. Watch this pianist!
Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 (colloquially known as The Rach 3) is famous for its technical and musical demands on the performer. It is one of the most difficult works for piano ever written; it has the reputation of being the most difficult concerto in the entire piano repertoire.
Every year, the Berliner Philharmoniker hold a kind of classical-music fête with a bright, cheerful concert to end the season. In 2009 about 22,000 people had come together at the Berlin Waldbühne to enjoy the traditional summer picnic concert. The theme of the evening was “Russian rhythms”, and star conductor Sir Simon Rattle, the Berliner Philharmoniker and Yefim Bronfman, one of the most famous pianists in the world today, presented a superb selection of Russian music.
The Cologne New Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Volker Hartung and pianist Hubert Salwarowski are presented in a most exciting performance of Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto and Brahms Symphony No.2.
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev has established himself as one of the most dynamic and virtuosic performers of his generation, and his program on this RCA album with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic is ideally suited to his extraordinary abilities. The pairing of Sergey Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor and George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is a natural one, particularly because of the works' shared post-romanticism (note Rachmaninov's influence on Gershwin's slow theme in the Rhapsody), as well as for the dazzling writing for the piano in both works. Of course, the challenge for Matsuev is to make his part appear effortless, and he succeeds so well in both performances that listeners may be a bit blasé about his playing, taking it in without really considering what knuckle-busters these pieces really are.
The outstanding young German pianist Joseph Moog makes his debut on ONYX with a superb disc of two great Russian piano concertos that have had very different fates.