Notes & Reviews:
The Guardian, 27th March 2014
Perhaps the 1980s digital cycle of the concertos, with Bernard Haitink conducting, is not as instinctively sharp in its musical responses as Ashkenazy's earlier cycle with Previn, but his performances of the other major works would be hard to match among modern recordings for their stylishness and grace, unflashy virtuosity and innate understanding of what made Rachmaninov tick.
Vladimir Ashkenazy is the pre-eminent interpreter of Rachmaninov's music, having championed it since the outset of his career. Ashkenazy is the only musician to record all of the composer's piano works. This collection includes all Rachmaninov's piano music, from his earliest compositions to the final masterpieces.
In 2013, Ashkenazy celebrated his 50th anniversary as an exclusive Decca recording artist, celebrated appropriately by Decca Classics with a 50-CD Original Jackets Collection
The Piano Concertos and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini are here in versions with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Bernard Haitink: "The combined virtues of soloists, conductor, orchestras and recording on the new Decca are really rather remarkable" Gramophone on Piano Concerto No. 1
When Ashkenazy marked his 75th birthday (6 July 2012), he recorded a final album of Rachmaninov's music, called 'Rachmaninov Rarities'. This album includes the Seven Pieces (Moments Musicaux) Op.10, three Nocturnes, and ten shorter early works, including an unpublished 'Song without Words'.
While the vast majority of the recording in this set are of digital-era provenance, the 11th CD includes earlier (analogue) versions of works included elsewhere in the set, including Ashkenazy's earlier thoughts on the Corelli Variations and the Etudes-Tableaux, Op. 39.
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Walton: The Quest, The Wise Virgins / Thomson, London PO
Elisabetta Brusa (b.1954): Symphony No. 1, Op. 10; Merlin - Symphonic Poem, Op. 20 / Royal Scottish Nat'l Orch., Rustioni
Liszt: Schubert Song Transcriptions - Winterreise; Schwanengesang / Avan Yu, piano
Janácek: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Taras Bulba; Jealousy, The Fiddler's Child; The Ballad of Blanik; Violin Concerto; The Danube / James Ehnes, violin
Arthur Honegger: Jeanne D'Arc au Bûcher / Marion Cotillard; Barcelona Symphony; Catalonia Nat'l Orch.; Soustrot
Hendrik Andriessen (1892-1981): Symphonic Works, Vol. 3 / Netherlands SO, David Porcelijn
Richard Danielpour: 'Ancient Voices' - Darkness in the Ancient Valley, symphony (2011); Toward a Season of Peace (2012) / Hila Plitmann, soprano
Gottfried August Homilius (1714-85): Complete Organ Chorales / Felix Marangoni, organ
Hendrik Andriessen (1892-1961): The Four Chorals and Other Organ Music / Benjamin Saunders, organ