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Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos 3 & 4 / Andsnes

Album Summary

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Concerto for Piano no 3 in D minor, Op. 30
>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Concerto for Piano no 4 in G minor, Op. 40
Performer Conductor Ensemble
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Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Internationally acclaimed pianist Leif Ove Andsnes teams up once again with conductor Antonio Pappano on his new recording of Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 4. Hailed as an editor's choice, Gramophone praises Andsnes for his "customary balance of head and heart on this music and the Berlin Philharmonic under Pappano play magnificently." Andsnes and Pappano first recorded collaboration was the 2004 EMI Classics release of Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, with the Berliner Philharmoniker, which received glorious, universal acclaim.

“[Andsnes], Pappano and the orchestra breathe together here. If Andsnes’s playing is arresting for the quantity of relevant detail that he conveys, so too is the orchestra’s, though the fine balance ensures that the perspective is rounded rather than pitching instrumental solos into the foreground. Moreover, for all the lucidity of individual passages, there is also a broad and deeply satisfying overall span to the interpretation, a firm sense of direction that recognises the music’s rhythmic ebb and flow but which has its structural keystones clearly in view.” -Gramophone

“Together with his lustrous tone and physical power he brings to the Third Concerto a compelling poetic sensibility. He and Pappano are entirely as one in finding the music’s pulse, its fluxes of pace and its blend of grandeur, mellowness and bravura...This is a disc of terrific stature.” -The Telegraph

"Emotionally subtle music-making, light and beckoning one minute, steely with tension the next...the orchestra’s lyrical flow is the first thing you notice as the Third Concerto begins. Pappano might not be conducting opera here, but he can’t help bringing out the music’s song or revealing its heart.”-The Times

“There's no disputing the high standard of Leif Ove Andsnes's pianism in both these concertos, among the most technically demanding in the repertoire – nor the equal brilliance with which Antonio Pappano and the London Symphony Orchestra partner his performances.” -The Guardian

“[Andsnes] manages to make the first movement sound more sinister and wayward than most of his rivals, yet he's in his element in etching the filigree and fioriture of the highly-decorated solo part in the slow movement” -BBC Music Magazine

“The passion burns from within in this incendiary account of Rachmaninov's third and fourth piano concertos. The amplitude of his melodies, the rich scoring and the insistent Russian melancholy are most potent when kept under control. The poetic, muscular Andsnes, sensitively and glitteringly accompanied by Pappano and the LSO, does just that. The third, written for a money-spinning tour of America, was an instant hit. The fourth, more problematic and bluesy, still has power to stir. Even not being Russian or in exile or tormented by mental conflict, you succumb to the mood of nostalgia and homesickness. And I was at home at the time.” - The Observer

"Few pieces in the piano repertoire are as iconic as the Rachmaninov Concertos, and Norwegian Leif Ove Andsnes darn well knows it. Even the manner in which this recording is packaged oozes seriousness and reverence, with Andsnes' hard face glaring at us from the sleeve and monochrome close-ups of his hands adorning the inlay. Aptly, he has treated the Third and Fourth with due respect for the most part, but there is a delicious mischief to some of it that the composer himself would most definitely have endorsed. This is by no means a po-faced imitation of what has gone before, more an excitable toe-dip into some enjoyable interpretative ideas.

From the very outset, Andsnes cannot wait to let rip. The solemnity of that most famous of opening phrases in the third concerto's Allegro Ma Non Tanto is almost resignedly hurried out of the way so that he can light the touch paper and travel straight to the heart of the firework - he verily cascades through the passages that immediately follow. Perhaps a subtler contrast would have worked better. As the LSO swells through the romanticism and grandeur of Rachmaninov's divine accompaniment, Andsnes is always on hand to re-instil cosh-like formality when needed. To say he has the whole by the scruff of the neck would be an understatement, and it has to be a positive.

Things are necessarily different when it comes to the troubled Fourth concerto. Rachmaninov wrote many revisions of the work when it received poor reviews, its jazz influences and tendency to break character sitting uneasily with much of the listening public. Andsnes tackles this interpretative minefield a little more tentatively, which actually results in some stunning, delicate melody work in the languorous second movement and real fire in the finale. He is nothing if not thorough, as well as thoroughly sensitive when it counts.

Both of these works show Andsnes at his most attentive, certainly, making this disc a very entertaining reading. His energy is boundless and sure to get him into trouble at times, but overall the sheer verve is irresistible. Technical challenges are shaken off like rainwater, subtler sections are given the requisite grace and poise, and everything else in between is a joyous blur."-BBC Music

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London.



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Works Details

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Concerto for Piano no 3 in D minor, Op. 30
  • Performers: Leif Andsnes (Piano); Leif Andsnes (Piano)
  • Conductor: Antonio Pappano
  • Notes: No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London (2009-03-07&2009-03-09&2009-)
  • Running Time: 42 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1909

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Concerto for Piano no 4 in G minor, Op. 40
  • Performers: Leif Andsnes (Piano); Leif Andsnes (Piano)
  • Conductor: Antonio Pappano
  • Notes: No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London (04/03/2010/05/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 24 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1926