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  • Rachmaninoff Plays Rachmaninoff: Zenph Re-performance
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Rachmaninoff Plays Rachmaninoff: Zenph Re-performance

28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 22, 2009
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Frequently Bought Together

Rachmaninoff Plays Rachmaninoff: Zenph Re-performance + Piano Starts Here: Live at the Shrine - Zenph + Bach: The Goldberg Variations 1955 Performance - Zenph Re-performance
Price for all three: $35.30

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1. Liebesleid
2. Prelude, Op. 3, No. 2 in C-Sharp Minor
3. The Flight Of The Bumblebee
4. Scherzo from A Midsummer Night's Dream
5. Etude Tableau, Op. 33, No. 2 in C Major
6. Etude Tableau, Op. 33, No. 7 in E-Flat Major
7. Moment Musical, Op. 16, No. 2 in E-Flat Minor
8. Daisies, Op. 38, No. 3
9. Lullaby, Op. 16, No. 1
10. Violin Partita No. 3, BWV 1006; Prelude
11. Violin Partita No. 3, BWV 1006; Gavotte
12. Violin Partita No. 3, BWV 1006; Gigue
13. Liebesfreud

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 22, 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B002BFIN6K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,147 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Randal Leistikow on September 25, 2009
Format: Audio CD
As a software engineer at Zenph Studios, I am especially proud of the work our production team did on this album. Rachmaninoff's compositions are well known, but this album brings to light his amazing artistry as a pianist. Listen, for example, to this performance of his famous C-sharp minor prelude; he plays it with much more subtlety than most modern interpretations, using dynamic contrast to establish a captivating dialog between one voice tolling the opening three-note motif and other distinctly-softer voices answering it.

The other pieces on the album are also pianistic treats. Rachmaninoff's transcriptions of "Flight of the Bumblebee" and "Scherzo from a Midsummer Night's Dream" showcase his dexterity, and are great fun to hear. The intricacy of voicing and rubato in Rachmaninoff's performances of his original works is astounding, and each track is packed full of little musical surprises.

This album was re-performed on a 1909 Steinway model D on which Rachmaninoff may have very well played. Thanks to recording engineer Richard King and everyone involved in the preparation of the piano, the sound of that wonderful instrument comes through beautifully in this album. This disc presents each piece from two perspectives: an exceptional stereo version places you near the front of the audience while Rachmaninoff plays, and an intimate binaural stereo version seats you on the bench next to him. The binaural version was recorded using a special dummy head with a microphone in each ear, carefully positioned so that when the tracks are played back through headphones, each note comes from its correct place in space (lower notes toward the left, higher notes toward the right). This may be one of the best sounding piano albums ever made.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lepp on December 31, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is a very well done recording. Too often, CD sound is overly compressed but the dynamic range of this is wonderful. I tend to increase the volume when playing this CD since the overall average volume is lower - this really enhances the enjoyment and emotional power of the music.

I know people may have trouble with the Zenph concept, but I find the concept intriguing and the execution on this CD is very well done. Until there is time travel, this is a real treat.

Be aware that there are 13 tracks on this CD: 1 - 13 are recorded in standard stereo and then repeated as 14 - 26 in binaural stereo for headphones. I would rather have thius split into 2 separate discs but that is a nit.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Alan Lekan on December 27, 2009
Format: Audio CD
In addition to being one of the most important composers of the early 20th century to emerge out of Russia, Sergei Rachmaninoff was also one of the great pianists in the history of the instrument. Famous for his large hands that spaned a twelfth interval, capivating and nuanced melodic textures and complex figurations, Rachmaninoff's playing has always fascinated pianists and music lovers.

This modern recreation - using softwear analyzing his playing dynamics (touch, pedeling, speed etc) that is then fed to a Steineway Grand - seeks to recreate Rachmaninoff's exact style (minus missed notes, good or bad) in modern, quality stereo sound. Whether one agrees to its relevance and authenticity in the scheme of things, it is a totally fascinating approach from sound science and engineering.

First of all this is a rich collection of Rachmaninoff's solo piano compositions and transcriptions. I was not so familiar with Rachmaninoff's solo works until this disc and was transfixed to hear each piece over and over. It became clear why this pianist is so admired.

What I found most striking listening to this disc with no expectations was the exceedingly nuanced and beautiful pianism. There is a smoothness and a fresh, organic nature to the playing that shows no unnecessary/excessive elaboration, rubato, over pedaling. Its hard to decribe the effect - the music just seeems to flow effortlessly like a clear stream of water through a tranquil forest. You don't hear mushed-over textures from excess pedaling (which the composer was known not to engage in) but nice, clear sonorities and distinctiveness of the notes.

Not sure why so much negative press on the sound quality. From my ears, it sounds equal or better than any of the other 1000 classical discs.
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35 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Farhan Malik on May 25, 2011
Format: Audio CD
The positive reviews here mainly rave about the recorded sound quality, but is that really what the focus should be on a CD that claims to "completely eliminate the technological limitations of the past by using computer software to capture Rachmaninoff's attacks, keyspeeds, pitches, durations, and interpretive nuances from a 78rpm record..." I wrote an extensive review of this CD for the Association of Recorded Sound Collections Journal where I compared Rachmaninoff's original 78rpm records against the Zenph re-performances. The Zenph performances did not hold up well to such scrutiny. Here are a few quotes from that lengthy review.

"Where Zenph truly fails is in reproducing the artistry and musical effects found in Rachmaninoff's playing. Simply put, Zenph often reproduces the notes but not the musical relationship between the notes. Consider two slurred notes played in a particularly expressive manner by Rachmaninoff. In Zenph the second note will be quieter but lack a poetic connection."

"throughout Rachmaninoff's playing one hears beautifully balanced chords. The top note might sing out more in one chord whereas an inner dissonance might be emphasized for a different color in another chord. These are the sort of details missed by the Zenph technology. Zenph's chords for the most part simply sound like ordinary chords - they lack the special touch, color, balance, and sound Rachmaninoff brings."

"Zenph fails to recreate is the energetic, incisive quality found in many of the original 78s. What happened to the light, springy character of the Mendelssohn Scherzo? Why does the Bach Gigue sound so much more crisp and energetic on the original 78rpm? Where's the electricity in the opening of Liebesfreud?
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