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.
Karl Richter’s recordings of Bach’s orchestral and sacred music influenced an entire generation of musicians and listeners, presenting the conductor’s unique sound and style. When Richter recorded Bach’s works, he freed them from a ponderous tradition that had mired the music in romantic sounds and idiom. Richter lightened Bach’s music, and, with an orchestra of outstanding musicians, helped bring it toward the more modern interpretations that listeners have become familiar with today. This is still a bit far from the historically-informed performances that are pretty much the norm, but there is a unity and natural originality that comes through the music in these recordings.
Tom Service takes a cinematic journey through Russia on the trail of the wondrous yet melancholic melodies of Russian giant Sergei Rachmaninoff. A celebration of a composer's musical triumph over critical adversity and Soviet terror, with performances and contributions from Vladimir Ashkenazy, Denis Matsuev, Steven Isserlis, Stephen Hough, Vladimir Jurowski, Lucy Parham and James Rhodes.
This collection is an absolute steal. Three of the concerto recordings are unsurpassed. The Haskil Chopin is legendary, Richter's Liszt is colossal and Janis's Rachmaninoff is absolutely formidable. Brendel's recordings of Mozart and Beethoven are on a lesser level of achievement, but never less than good.
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.
Often named the supreme pianist of his era, Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997) was a poet of the keyboard and an enigmatic, sometimes eccentric figure. These 24 CDs span three centuries of music – repertoire for solo piano and piano duo, chamber music, song and concerto – and bring Richter together with other great artists of his time. As the New York Times wrote, his pianism “combined astonishing technical mastery with bold, wide-ranging musical imagination. His control over the colorings of piano tone was incomparable.”