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Rachmaninov: 24 Preludes; Piano Sonata No. 2


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Audio CD, May 16, 1995
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$11.88 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Rachmaninov: Prelude In C Sharp Minor, Op.3, No.2 4:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Rachmaninov: Prelude In F Sharp Minor, Op.23, No.1 4:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Rachmaninov: Prelude In B Flat, Op.23, No.2 3:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Rachmaninov: Prelude In D Minor, Op.23, No.3 4:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Rachmaninov: Prelude In D, Op.23, No.4 5:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Rachmaninov: Prelude In G Minor, Op.23, No.5 3:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Rachmaninov: Prelude In E Flat, Op.23, No.6 2:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Rachmaninov: Prelude In C Minor, Op.23, No.7 2:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Rachmaninov: Prelude In A Flat, Op.23, No.8 3:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Rachmaninov: Prelude In E Flat Minor, Op.23, No.9 1:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Rachmaninov: Prelude In G Flat, Op.23, No.10 3:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Rachmaninov: Prelude In C, Op.32, No.1 1:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Rachmaninov: Prelude In B Flat Minor, Op.32, No.2 2:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Rachmaninov: Prelude In E, Op.32, No.3 2:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Rachmaninov: Prelude In E Minor, Op.32, No.4 5:15$0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Rachmaninov: Prelude In G, Op.32, No.5 3:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Rachmaninov: Prelude In F Minor, Op.32, No.6 1:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Rachmaninov: Prelude In F, Op.32, No.7 2:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Rachmaninov: Prelude In A Minor, Op.32, No.8 1:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Rachmaninov: Prelude In A, Op.32, No.9 2:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Rachmaninov: Prelude In B Minor, Op.32, No.10 5:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Rachmaninov: Prelude In B Major, Op.32, No.11 2:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Rachmaninov: Prelude In G Sharp Minor, Op.32, No.12 2:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Rachmaninov: Prelude In D Flat Major, Op.32, No.13 5:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Rachmaninov: Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor, Op.36 - Original version (1913) - 1. Allegro agitato10:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Rachmaninov: Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor, Op.36 - Original version (1913) - 2. Non allegro - Lento 8:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Rachmaninov: Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor, Op.36 - Original version (1913) - 3. Allegro molto 7:09$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Among the foremost musical figures of our time, Vladimir Ashkenazy was born in Gorky in 1937. He began playing the piano at the age of six and was accepted at the Central Music School at the age of eight. He graduated from the Moscow Conservatory, having studied with Lev Oborin. He won second prize in the International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1955, first ... Read more in Amazon's Vladimir Ashkenazy Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Rachmaninov: 24 Preludes; Piano Sonata No. 2 + Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos 1-4 + Rachmaninov: The Symphonies
Price for all three: $40.50

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 16, 1995)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: London / Decca
  • ASIN: B00000425L
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,273 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

As to which is better, it really depends on what you are after.
Chaconnesque
The excellent performance of these Rachmaninov pieces is enough to consider Mr. Ashkenazy one of the most important living pianists.
Miguel
Apart from his fabulous technical skills he brings that innate sense of 'Russianness' to his interpretations.
I. Giles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Vivaldi Collector on October 22, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Some previous reviewer's bashing of the prolific Ashkenazy is misguided. Just because a great artist records and sells many records doesn't mean he is from Disneyland. He's not even close to being a product of the "capitalism system" this reviewer was referring to. I own 4 other versions of these "Preludes," including those by the great Shelly, Dame Lampany and the composer himself. This set surpasses them all in terms of pure poeticism. A machine? A "cardboard piano robot"? What are you talking about?
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Ashkenazy plays the Preludes with perfect control, and exquisite shading. He sounds authentically Slavonic, comfortably bettering the recordings made by Alexeev, Richter, Gavrilov and Cliburn. He manages to make the famous C# minor Prelude sound fresh. In fact it is hard to imagine better performances of any of the Preludes. The Sonata, while not my favourite Rachmaninov, is also played with great authority.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Ashkenazy's performance of the 2nd Rachmaninov sonata is much more gratifying than Horowitz's, in part because he plays the earlier version of this piece.
The preludes are fantastic, played with sensitivity and with those deliberate and well-thought out interpretations which make Ahskenazy such a wonderful performer. He's also able to play with amazing voicing, making the entire set sound amazingly clear from top to bottom.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By I. Giles TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 26, 2012
Format: Audio CD
For many collectors Ashkenazy and Rachmaninov makes a powerful and potent combination almost beyond compare.Ever since he burst upon the recording scene in 1963 with a marvellous Piano Concerto 3 Ashkenazy has produced winning disc after winning disc of the Rachmaninov repertoire.

Apart from his fabulous technical skills he brings that innate sense of 'Russianness' to his interpretations. There are the uninhibited emotional outbursts, the bleak desolation, the sense of the epic and also the introspection to list but a few of the complex elements that go to make up the complete musical experience. All of these conflicting aspects of Rachmaninov, his world and his music are laid bare before us.

There are many fine sets of the 24 Preludes, and I own quite a few of them plus partial sets by Richter among others, yet Ashkenazy brings a sense of absolute authenticity to these readings. Others may excel in many ways but the combination of elements that Ashkenazy creates is very special and specially Russian.

Much the same can be observed about the second sonata. This is available in the original full length, the shortened and more compact second version plus various hybrid versions. Ashkenazy chooses to play the first version which many now believe to be the best. Ashkenazy obviously thinks so too and makes a very convincing case for it. There is no sense of the undue length that Rachmaninov feared as a result of critical opinion that was probably best ignored.

Decca has now reissued and repackaged the performances and recordings of these works in this generously filled set which makes a particularly tempting pair of discs.
Read more ›
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Chaconnesque on December 25, 2002
Format: Audio CD
There aren't many releases of the complete Rachmaninov Preludes. Besides this, there is the now difficult to find Weissenberg performance on RCA. As to which is better, it really depends on what you are after. Weissenberg's is a speed-demon, virtuosic performance which is electrifying, but which also at times seem unpolished and rough. Some of the deep sensitivity of the slower pieces are lost in this, which Ashkenazy captured perfectly in his thoughtful interpretation. In the end this is a very satisfying performance musically, though we could wish for some more pyrotechniques from Ashkenazy. Nonetheless, it is a pity that Richter did not do a complete Preludes. Hopefully Evgeny Kissin, Berezovsky or some of the younger pianists would, especially with Kissin's unbelieveably exciting performance of the B-flat prelude as encore in his Rachmaninov 3rd recording.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mehmet Can El on February 27, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Hi,

Rachmaninov's complete preludes haven't been recorded so often...Ashkenazy's were the first to appear on Cd, with the excellent recording further enhanced...this is superb flair and panache about this playing..As a bonus, the compact disc offer the second piano sonata...with Ashkenazy generally following the 1913 original score but with some variants. He plays with great vituosity and feeling, and the result is a beautiful recording...Buy this one without thinking for a second...
M. Can EL
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Miguel on February 20, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I concur with Mr. Davey. The excellent performance of these Rachmaninov pieces is enough to consider Mr. Ashkenazy one of the most important living pianists. To the risk of being hieratic, Mr. Azkkenazy's perfomance of the Sonata No. 2 is more passionate, moving and deep than Horowitz's. There is no doubt to it. My heart accelerates and my head is about to explode every time that I hear this piece.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When it comes to the Rachmaninov preludes I always return to Ashkenazy's versions. His is not the only way to approach this music, but at least I feel that these guiding idea behind these interpretation was to search for a sense of authenticity, an attempt to uncover the real "nature" of these masterpieces rather than viewing them as vehicles for the performers own ideas. I know that, in the end, this description probably doesn't really make much sense, but that is the reaction Ashkenazy's playing elicits, at least on a phenomenological level, in this listener. There is plenty of emotion, plenty of color and shade, atmosphere and barnstorming ferocity here, heart-aching sorrow and deep meditation, but Ashkenazy convinces us (at least me) that these are elements of the music itself rather than something he imposes on it. Maybe a better and more accurate way of putting it is that - despite insights and fascinating solutions provided in other performances - I have found and continue to find Ashkenazy's way with the preludes probably more satisfying than anyone else's.

The same goes for the second sonata, though here the competition is of course even fiercer (though of course there are different versions to choose between). Again, I find Ashkenazy's account deeply convincing - staggering in its darkness, substance and depth of feeling - though there may be moments where his playing is a bit on the safe side - not routine or lacking in any of the features mentioned, but just a little bit predictable. But it really isn't a serious complaint, and overall these performances are must-have for anyone with an interest in the composer's music.
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