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Rachmaninov: Complete Piano Concertos [Import]

Stephen Hough , Sergei Rachmaninov , Andrew Litton , Dallas Symphony Orchestra Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Performer: Stephen Hough
  • Orchestra: Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Andrew Litton
  • Composer: Sergei Rachmaninov
  • Audio CD (October 12, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B003XWFLJW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,211 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1: Vivace
2. Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1: Andante
3. Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1: Allegro vivace
4. Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40: Allegro vivace
5. Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40: Largo
6. Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40: Allegro vivace
7. Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Introduction and 24 Variations), for piano & orchestra in A minor, Op. 43: Introduction. Allegro viv
8. Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Introduction and 24 Variations), for piano & orchestra in A minor, Op. 43: Variation 1. Precedente
9. Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Introduction and 24 Variations), for piano & orchestra in A minor, Op. 43: Theme. L'istesso tempo
10. Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Introduction and 24 Variations), for piano & orchestra in A minor, Op. 43: 2. L'istesso tempo
See all 32 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18: Moderato
2. Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18: Adagio sostenuto
3. Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18: Allegro scherzando
4. Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30: Allegro ma non tanto
5. Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30: Intermezzo: Adagio
6. Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30: Finale: Alla breve

Editorial Reviews

Hyperion's brilliant idea to bring together the Dallas Symphony Orchestra led by Andrew Litton (a conductor who specializes inRachmaninov) and pianist Stephen Hough (who has already won two Gramophone Record of the Year accolades for his concerto recordings) has produced one of the finest recordings of the complete Rachmaninov piano concerti ever put to disc. Recorded over a period of eighteen days and eleven concerts (with each concerto being played several times), Hyperion has produced ideal performances of each work without dulling the excitement of what was by common consent a sensational series of concerts. These days a new recording of the Rachmaninov concertos has to be very special for it to be worth doing at all and it was not without some doubts that Hyperion agreed to go forward with this project. However, Hough's amazing performances quickly banished any fears. His return to the fast and lean performance tradition of the composer himself avoids the sentimental 'Hollywood' approach that has become so prevalent in recent years.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
(7)
4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow, Love the Music, Hate the Audience Applause December 18, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Let's get right off the bat to the down side of this otherwise superb set of recordings: audience noise. Now thank goodness this audience is very quiet during the progress of these performances, recorded live in the Meyerson Center in Dallas, USA; but as the dying echoes of each final chord in each of the first four piano concertos washes back from the walls, a huge crash of applause falls upon the ears like a very cold, and hard, icy avalanche. Only the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini was recorded without an audience, and thus mercifully, the rhapsody is blessedly free of this dreadful end to some of the very best Rachmaninoff playing ever committed to discs.

Yes, the first time you play these discs (in very clear and wide-frequency super audio sound, by the way), the applause offers up that added live concert frisson of the Meyerson audience being electrified by performances which would deserve every minute of sustained and raucous applause that any audience anywhere might care to offer up in appreciation. After that first time around, however, you simply wish more and more and more, to exile that audience to any Siberia, any far and distant and life threatening tundra available, just so long as it's palm-smacking look-at-us-now cacophony is no longer shattering against the walls of your listening room like demolition for a new Walmart down the block. Super audio's sonic power and refinement, on offer in multiple surround channels, only makes these intrusive applause endings that much more noisome. If you turn up the system, as I did, to more fully immerse yourself in each of the passing fine nuances as well as the entirely apt forward sweep of these performances, you will only be more painfully and frustratingly punished at the end of each work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chip off the old block, but still his own man... November 11, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
These performances reminded me of the composer's own in their unsentimental and unceasing movement forward. But although they are cut from similar cloth, Hough is not merely imitating Rachmaninoff. The sentiment in this music is in the notes, and it does not need swooning and editorializing (e.g., Lang Lang) to involve the listener. Litton and the orchestra are active collaborators. On CD, the sound is a little bright and at the same time a little thick--imaging isn't its strength. Maybe the SACD is better-=I haven't heard it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great performances, variable sound August 18, 2010
Format:Audio CD
One thing is for sure on this set. Musically, the performances are stunning. The pieces are shaped sensitively by Andrew Litton and accompanied most sympathetically by the Dallas Orchestra. Hough's playing is astonishingly fine throughout.

Bearing is mind that these are live rather than re-cut and assembled studio performances, some of his playing is simply phenomenal. This is not merely virtuosic, the fireworks are always there for sound musical reasons. The 3rd concerto is quite jaw-dropping, in fact. All these performances undoubtedly brought the house down. I award them a solid 5 stars.

And the sound? (SACD/stereo reviewed) The first thing to say here is that balances are generally laid back but strong architecturally, portraying quite solid and coherent staging. Unfortunately, overall levels of transparency are not always sufficient to reproduce instruments stage-rear without some clouding - see some of the better 50+ year-old Living Stereos to see how this can be done properly! Throughout this set, the piano sounds clear, vivid and dynamic, whilst things progressively fog up as stage depth increases.

Moreover, the balance and overall sound quality vary notably from performance to performance:

1 and 4 - these are characterised by a very recessed orchestra. Because low-level resolution is insufficient, this sounds a tad muffled. Strings are too thin for Rachmaninov, and a bit gritty because the recording is PCM. Four stars sonically.

Paganini Variations. Noticeably better, with a much more natural balance between orchestra and soloist. Some of the interchange between soloist and inner orchestral lines reveals very strong and coherent depth layering. Strings are still not quite right, though (PCM). 5 stars for sound.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The SACD is out of Print. What a shame March 8, 2012
Format:Audio CD
Sometimes you luck out in this otherwise cruel world. I have the SACD version which I understand is no longer available. This may be the single greatest CD in my library, and no amount of money could get me to ever part with it.

Hyperion should reissue the SACD at once. But this time include the center channel.
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