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Piano Concerti 1-4 / Rhapsody on Theme of Paganini

4.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 17, 1999
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 1 In F Sharp Minor: I Vivace
  2. Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 1 In F Sharp Minor: II Andante
  3. Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 1 In F Sharp Minor: III Allegro vivace
  4. Piano Concerto No. 4, Op. 40 In G Minor: I Allegro
  5. Piano Concerto No. 4, Op. 40 In G Minor: II Largo
  6. Piano Concerto No. 4, Op. 40 In G Minor: III Allegro vivace
  7. Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini, Op. 43

Disc: 2

  1. Piano Concerto No.2, Op.18 In C Minor: I. Moderato
  2. Piano Concerto No.2, Op.18 In C Minor: II. Adagio sostenuto
  3. III. Allegro scherzando
  4. Piano Concerto No.3, Op.30 In D Minor: I. Allegro
  5. Piano Concerto No.3, Op.30 In D Minor: II. Intermezzo: Adagio
  6. III. Finale: Allegro


Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 17, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Alliance
  • ASIN: B00000JWIW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #576,896 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

There has never been a finer set of Rachmaninoff's Concertos. Needless to say, Wild has the virtuosity to bring the works off with tremendous flair and gorgeous, robust tone. But it is his musicianship that really is amazing. Wild and Horenstein offer quite a bit more passion and urgency than Ashkenazy or Cliburn do in their famous versions. The recorded sound is excellent. Since these concertos receive so many routine or overdone performances, this set is a welcome reissue.
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As a pianist with an affinity for the romantic, my introduction to Earl Wild and Rachmaninov was when, in the 1960s, my mother bought us the Readers Digest set of records (when they first came out) from which this CD is made -- it was love at first sight (hearing)! (Guess who took the records with him when he went off to college??!). I thought these were wonderful recordings and interpretations when I first heard them (despite my youth and inexperience then), and now approx. 40 years later (having heard a number of other recordings in the intervening years), my opinion is unchanged. Being a romantic pianist in the spirit of Rachmaninov and Horowitz, Earl Wild sets a very high standard here. It doesn't get any better than this. Only two regrets -- the lack of the full uncut version of the 3rd (the cuts were sanctioned by the composer in a time when audience attention spans were not nearly so long as they are today), and the notable and very regrettable absence of the Isle of the Dead from this CD (which was also on the original set of 1960s records -- an evocative, exciting tone poem in its own right, rendered as well or better than any other I've heard by Horsenstein and company. Wild's 1st and 2nd concerti and Rhapsody from this set are the best I've heard and are still the standard by which I judge other performances of the same pieces (ditto for the Isle of the Dead).
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The collaboration between Wild and Horenstein is breathtaking. The sound of the orchestra has a presence that I have not found on any other set. I prefer this 3rd concerto to any of the others I have heard...for it's sheer excitement. I have heard all of the Horowitz versions, Kissin, Volodos,Cliburn,Janis,Gavrilov, Ashkenazy and this beats them. While all of the others have spectacular moments, on the whole this 3rd is the best. (Some will want to have another rendition because of the shortened cadenza and I can understand this). If you have only one set, this is the one to own.
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Verified Purchase
I first heard these gorgeous renditions when they were first released on long-play stereo records. My husband and I (both professional musicians) were truly impressed--need I say "flabbergasted" at the wonderful playing and the orchestral integrity. Rachmaninoff needs to be performed by those who have big souls and wondrous imaginations, and both these performers fit the bill. Anyone who truly loves the grandeur of Russian romantic music will find this food for the soul.
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The only 2nd which may be better is Graffman's and 3rd is Horowitz's 1951 (w/ Reiner). But the sound is much better on these disks. The conducting is for the first time as good as the playing. The key word is exciting, and Horenstein deserves more credit for this than Wild. This is high praise since Wild is known as a virtuoso.
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If you don't enjoy the 1st and 4th concertos, try listening to these. I've always loved the 2nd and 3rd concertos and the Paganini Rhapsody, and those are terrific performances here too (despite the cuts to the 3rd), but the two less familiar works really shine here. The sound is excellent for the 1960's, but don't expect up-to-date digital sound from recordings from this period regardless of "remastering'. This isn't smooth 'civilized' Rachmaninov like, say, Ashkenazy, although I enjoy much of those recordings as well. Earl Wild was truly "a romantic hero of the keyboard" as one of his album covers proclaimed.
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very good brilliant good sounding account of these rachmaninov works, as brilliant as these pieces can sound! little or no sentalmentalities, definitely deserves a place in any rachmaninov collection, holds its own place very strongly against such performances by richter, argerish, rachmaninov, ashkenazy, and horowitz just to name a few
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