Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos 2 & 3 / Trpceski, Petrenko

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Simon Trpceski and Vasily Petrenko bring a certain lightness and refinement to Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2, while at the same revealing the work's deep emotions and inherent melancholy. Trpceski's playing effuses romantic bravura in the rapid finger passages of the outer movements, while cultivating a classical elegance in the hauntingly beautiful slow movement, here sounding so similar in mood and style to Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 that I wonder if Rachmaninov wasn't inspired by it.

Listening to Petrenko's conducting in Concerto No. 3, I was reminded of how Rachmaninov was greatly impressed at Gustav Mahler's meticulous preparation of this concerto's orchestral accompaniment for the New York premiere. Petrenko plays up the music's emotional grandeur and symphonic utterance (a few passages bring to mind the composer's Symphony No. 2), producing a real Rachmaninov sound with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, which plays wonderfully. My only complaint comes in the finale, where the trumpet's important statement of the main theme is barely audible.

For his part Trpceski thankfully resists the temptation to treat the formidable solo part as mere "piano competition" music (as so many others have done). His playing has that rare combination of power, passion, and precision (his first-movement cadenza--the long original one--is magnificent) which, combined with his rich tone and singing line, make this one of the most moving and musical Rachmaninov Third's on disc. The recording gives the usual prominence to the piano so that we hear every note, but the orchestra has a sufficient presence as well (it doesn't exactly sound "realistic"--then again, few concerto recordings do). An excellent disc, one that will likely spend much time in your CD player.

--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: AV2192

  • UPC: 822252219227

  • Label: Avie

  • Composer: Sergei Rachmaninov

  • Conductor: Vasily Petrenko

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Performer: Simon Trpceski