This is a wonderful collection of all the great composer's known works, and is a must buy for anyone who enjoy's Rachmaninoff. While most of the recordings are not perhaps the absolute best that are out there, they are all still, for the most part, quite good. The only real issues I can find with this set are two rather small ones. On the recording of the symphonic poem The Isle of the Dead, there is an odd static-like sound that starts at about 17 minutes into the piece, which then disappears briefly, before reappearing once more. It is rather irritating, especially considering that the rest of the recording is very nice.
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (Russian: Сергей Васильевич Рахманинов, Sergej Vasil’evič Rakhmaninov, 1 April 1873 [O.S. 20 March] – 28 March 1943) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. He was one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, the last great representative of Russian late Romanticism in classical music. Early influences of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and other Russian composers gave way to a thoroughly personal idiom which included a pronounced lyricism, expressive breadth, structural ingenuity and a tonal palette of rich, distinctive orchestral colors.
The piano figures prominently in Rachmaninoff's compositional output, either as a solo instrument or as part of an ensemble. He made it a point, however, to use his own skills as a performer to explore fully the expressive possibilities of the instrument. Even in his earliest works, he revealed a sure grasp of idiomatic piano writing and a striking gift for melody.
Marking 100 years since his death, this is the first ever set of SCRIABIN COMPLETE WORKS. Drawn principally from Decca’s distinguished catalogue, the set also features no fewer than 64 newly-recorded tracks - over 200 mins of music, newly recorded by Vladimir Ashkenazy and Valentina Lisitsa especially for this set. Scriabin has in recent years become admired as one of the early 20th century’s most innovative and influential composers. The set concludes with a bonus disc showcasing great pianists across Decca, Philips and DG who have played Scriabin down the years, from Horowitz, Richter and Cherkassky onto Kissin, Grosvenor and Trifonov.
This magnificent collection spans almost half a century, from three of Rachmaninov's Op 39 Etudes-Tableaux that Vladimir Ashkenazy recorded in 1963, to his version of the First Sonata, which was released two years ago. It's wonderfully comprehensive, including the four piano concertos and the Paganini Rhapsody, the works for two pianos (the Suites and the Symphonic Dances with André Previn, some smaller-scale pieces with Ashkenazy's son Vovka), and all manner of occasional pieces and transcriptions as well as the major solo piano works.