This compilation features recordings made between 1950 and 1958 and “accompanies” the legendary pianist on his way to the Mount Olympus of piano playing. The repertoire ranges from Johann Sebastian Bach over German classicism and romanticism (Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann) to that gathering of great Russian composers – Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Scriabin, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev.
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.
Sony Classcial celebrates the art of Sviatoslav Richter (1995-1997) – one of the 20th century’s greatest pianists – with the first-ever release of his complete Columbia Masterworks and RCA Victor live and studio recordings in an 18 CD original jacket edition, underneath Richter’s legendary five October 1960 Carnegie Hall recitals.
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.
Legendary performances, no doubt. Nice sound in the original recording, the processed 3 channel sounds even better. Piano tone is wonderfull, full-bodied and detailed. Nice orchestra perspective.
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.