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Rachmaninoff: Piano Concertos
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Recording Review

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concertos Nos 1 and 4: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Simon Trpceski (piano), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, cond Vasily Petrenko. Rating: * * * * *

1:29PM BST 16 Jun 2011


Avie AV2191, £14.99

As with their Avie coupling of the Second and Third Concertos (AV2192) last year, Simon Trpceski, Vasily Petrenko and the RLPO bring understanding and instinct to their performances, and take to heart the different temperaments that each of the three works on this recording manifests.

If the First Concerto is essentially music of youthful optimism, the Fourth is shot through with far more hints of deep nostalgia and, at times, agonised brooding. The Fourth Concerto in the “definitive” 1941 version, played here, is markedly different from the one Rachmaninoff conceived in the 1920s. The concerto’s outer movements have a new, almost menacing energy and darker undercurrents that this performance brings out.

Here, as in the First Concerto and Paganini Rhapsody, the judicious variety of touch and colour, and ability to reveal important details of the music, combine with an expressive maturity to make these performances utterly compelling.

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