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  • Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 / Rachmaninoff: Solo Piano Works
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Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 / Rachmaninoff: Solo Piano Works Hybrid SACD - DSD


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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, November 11, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Here the big-toned Arcadi Volodos takes on one of the most familiar masterpieces of the piano repertoire, the Tchaikovsky First. It's a piece that is so familiar we tend not to listen to it very carefully, but Volodos finds subtleties and emphasizes interesting ideas. The expected power is there--the opening chords could knock you over--but he's wonderfully insightful in the softer passages and the middle movement is ethereal in the extreme; he also finds a certain pointillistic lyricism in the finale before he returns to the potency of his opening statement. The six Rachmaninov solos show varied sides of both the composer and Volodos: Mélodie is as peaceful as Volodos' own arrangement of the Polka italienne is wild--it fairly bursts out of the speakers. The Tchaikovsky was recorded live and the forward sound is a bit aggressive but exciting; Seiji Ozawa and the Berlin Philharmonic are as impressive as the pianist. Recommended. --Robert Levine

1. I. Allegro Non Troppo E Molto Maestoso
2. II. Andantino
3. III. Allegro Con Fuoco
4. Prelude In G-Flat Major, Op.23 No.10
5. Moment Musical In E-Flat Minor, Op.16 No.2
6. Daisies, Op.38 No.3
7. Prelude In G Major, Op.32 No.5
8. Oriental Sketch
9. Melodie In E Major, Op.3 No.3
10. Concert Paraphrase On Polka Italienne

Product Details

  • Performer: Arcadi Volodos
  • Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Seiji Ozawa
  • Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff
  • Audio CD (November 11, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: Alliance
  • ASIN: B0000TG9TM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,824 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Great Russian virtuoso Arcadi Volodos is 40 these days.
P. Adrian
Volodos is an incredibly sophisticated artist/composer who seems completely fluent in the language of music.
T. Gavardinas
I love his expert interpretation and the musical quality.
T. Sang

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By drdanfee VINE VOICE on November 15, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Hats off to all concerned! The truly phenomenal Arcady Volodos finally gets around to recording the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto, with the Berlin Philharmonic led by conductor Seiji Ozawa. Recorded live, there is nary a squeak of intrusive audience noise, until the entire Philharmonie audience explodes in waves of applause at the end of the concerto. While this certainly lets the listener in, on the frisson of the live concert; I would actually have much preferred to omit the audience all together, deserved as their recognition no doubt was on that occasion. Repeated hearings of their applause will only irritate me, since after all the truth of the matter is that I was not there, and I am not there, now, listening to the disc. Emphasizing the allegro aspect of the marked tempo, Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso, Ozawa and the orchestra immediately serve notice that there will be no excessive slowing down and speeding up, just to make the musical equivalent of written italics. Given the sheer technique that Volodos commands, no longer the sheer tight-rope of athletic surprise that it was on first hearing, you can surmise that the concerto will not present him with physical challenges beyond his means. By now, however, so many young and not so young pianists have conquered the technical heights of the concerto, the pressing questions in our mind (and our ears) must all have to do with whether or not the flash of athletics is adding up to music. While at first downbeat, Ozawa's tempo seems brisk, it settles in quite nicely and allows the great Tchaikovksy melodies to be sung out in great paragraphs with sometimes subtle or polished phrasing, especially elicited from the luscious BPO strings. The brass and woodwinds are eloquent, too.Read more ›
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By David A. Kemp on September 29, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Arcadi Volodos has everything it takes to deliver a stunning performance of the Tchaikovsky concerto, and this could have been it, but unfortunately it's not, through no fault of Volodos. This CD makes me angry--not at Volodos, who acquits himself admirably, but at Sony. If a Grammy were awarded for worst-engineered classical CD of the year, this one would be a contender: it has the worst orchestral sound I have heard from a major classical label in years. And it's all the harder to understand because Volodos's superb Rachmaninoff Third was also a live performance (June 1999) recording with the Berlin Philharmonic in the Berlin Philharmonie, just like this one (June 2002), also on Sony, and it certainly isn't afflicted with the engineering problems of this CD. (Different engineering teams recorded the two concertos.) I wonder if there is something about Sony's hybrid CD/SACD process that caused the problems (the far-better-sounding Rachmaninoff Third is not a hybrid CD/SACD disc like this one). (Let me stipulate that I'm listening on a conventional two-channel stereo CD system, not SACD, although my system is a reference-quality one. Let me also add that I am an audiophile, and that those who are indifferent to the quality of recorded sound can discount much of this review.)

Whatever the reason, the orchestral sound here is conspicuously bad. The in-house amazon.com reviewer described it euphemistically: "The forward sound is aggressive but exciting." In fact it's a lot worse than that: "hot," harsh, thick, muddy, and congested, with poor clarity and resolution of detail, with little sense of space and separation across a stereo soundstage (it seems to be clotted centerstage), and when the orchestra gets loud, the sound gets nasty, with a hard, harsh, ugly glare.
Read more ›
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By T. Sang on January 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD
We all know Van Cliburn's famous for his performance on Tchaikovsky's No.1. And I must say he is great beyond any doubt. However, after I have listened to Volodos, I can't help but my jaw dropped, and stunned. His clarity is absolutely fabulous, unbeatable. Unlike some (Cliburn, for one) who "swallow" lots of notes, sacrifice them for sheer speed, Volodos combine clarity with nerve breaking speed, articulate them so well you'll be totally breathless!
The third movement: Allegro Con Fuoco, is my favorite. Powerfully played and with the whole Volodos there. I love his expert interpretation and the musical quality. The second movement is beautifully played and I have to say, quite romantic, provides a sharp contrast with the first movement. About the recording, this SACD can be played on normal CD player. That's why they call it hybrid SACD. It's a high quality recording with a nice sound stage, even on a normal CD player. GET IT NOW!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Reader on February 16, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I agree with the other reviewer who finds this recording to be horribly recorded. I agree completely -- it is THE worst SACD I've ever heard. Muddy, lacking in air and treble, with a completely muffled sound. Which makes no sense, because SACD's most touted quality is its ability to convey open, clear, and "alive" sound. I don't understand how any of the artists/engineers involved in this project could have allowed this to be released.
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