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Rachmaninov: 24 Preludes / Osborne

Album Summary

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Prelude for piano no 1 in C sharp minor ("The Bells of Moscow"), Op. 3/2
>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Preludes (10) for piano, Op. 23
>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Preludes (13) for piano, Op. 32
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"I find Steven Osborne (b. 1971) refreshingly personal and intimate in his approach, often surprising me with an unexpected soft dynamic or articulated inner voice to which I had not given prior heed. The quicksilver ferocity of the A Minor Prelude, Op. 32, No. 8, for instance, suddenly threw light on the 'Etude-Tableau' in the same key. Recorded 7-8, 20-21 August 2008 at Henry Wood Hall, the Preludes enjoy a lustrous Steinway as their source of sound, deliciously captured by David Hinitt. The shifting, color registrations evoke a world of tender percussion, capable of infinite degrees of nuance." -Audiophile Audition (audaud.com)

'Outstanding Rachmaninov playing of acute perception, discretion and poetic sensibility, limpid, powerful and luminous in equal measure' (BBC Music Magazine)

'There are few pianists who offer such range and depth of palette: not even Ashkenazy's seminal reading ... This has award-winner written all over it' (Gramophone)

'Extremely impressive all round ... Osborne lavishes a remarkable level of authority on every one of these masterworks, playing with a rare combination of technical ease, tonal lustre and idiomatic identification. He also has the undeniable advantage of a magnificent Steinway instrument with a rich, opulent sonority and great solidity in its bass register ... In summary, Osborne goes from strength to strength as he moves through the cycle, wrapping up the final page of the concluding D flat prelude in a blaze of glory ... For a truly spellbinding modern account, Osborne now holds the winning ticket' (International Record Review)

'Osborne is perhaps the most convincing since Vladimir Ashkenazy ... His dazzling technique illuminates the virtuosic allegro and allegretto sections, and his playing has a Rachmaninovian pliancy and beautifully achieved rubato in lyrical passages. One of the piano discs of the year' (The Sunday Times)

'This sensational pianist ... brings his technical wizardry and, above all, his penetrating musical intelligence to these much-recorded works of Rachmaninov... In his combination of modesty, inner fire and natural virtuosity he brings to mind that other Rachmaninov master, Ashkenazy' (The Observer)

'The brilliant Scottish pianist Steven Osborne is unafraid of challenges ... He scales the 24 preludes of the great Sergei, and does so with passion and authority ... Osborne flies free without ever rampaging. Sorrow and sunlight, death and life, all Rachmaninov is here, in three dimensions, luscious colour and widescreen. A most exciting release' (The Times)

'This is an absolutely superb disc, one of the very finest integral sets of these works I have ever heard. Osborne's playing is magnificent throughout ... This issue simply has to go to the top of the recommended list' (Musical Opinion)

'This astonishingly good full set recording ... Osborne's musicality is exquisite, addictive and sensational. This is a disc you'll want to listen to over and over again' (The Scotsman)

'Rachmaninoff's piano preludes are exercises in grand keyboard virtuosity but it's the rare pianist who can bring out the limpid grace and emotional transparency behind those flurries of notes. Steven Osborne is such an artist, as this ravishingly beautiful new disc demonstrates... the results are magnificent' (San Francisco Chronicle, USA)

'The velvet tone with which Osborne caresses the tendrils of the melody at the beginning of op. 23/6, the stunning clarity of the gesture in op. 32/6 and the fingerwork in op. 32/8, the gloriously saturated climax of op. 31/13... the subtly of color and his unerring control of phrasing and dynamics over long musical spans, the lyricism never turns saccharine, the introspection never turns to self-pity, and the melancholy never glowering... Osborne is arguably at the top of the list' (Fanfare, USA)

'Refreshingly personal and intimate... Osborne reveals that many of the preludes exploit a siciliano rhythmic pulse... [his] slow first pages, visceral acceleration, and old-castle carillon will haunt your musical memory for a long time' (Audophile Audition, USA)

'Steven Osborne meets the considerable pianistic demands of Rachmaninov's Preludes with effortless aplomb and elegant, world-class mastery... collectors seeking the best combination of sound and interpretation will gain long-lasting satisfaction from Osborne's formidable achievement' (Listen Magazine, USA)



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Works Details

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Prelude for piano no 1 in C sharp minor ("The Bells of Moscow"), Op. 3/2
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (08/07/2008-08/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1892

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Preludes (10) for piano, Op. 23
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (08/07/2008-08/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 33 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1901-1903

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Preludes (13) for piano, Op. 32
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (08/07/2008-08/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 34 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1910