I tend to collect many versions of my favorite pieces (reading reviews, thank you reviewers), then filter to 2-3 to keep. Rachmaninoff’s No. 3 is one. Favorites are Horowitz’s 1951 with Reiner and 1978 with Ormandy. Trifonov’s recording is one to retain however, does not outrank Horowitz. As Rachmaninoff commented of Horowitz in 1942 "This is the way I always dreamed my concerto should be played, but I never expected to hear it that way on Earth.” (Checking this quote I was amused to see a more proper spelling after reading it in Russian is Rachmaninov, esp with no “soft sign” after the ‘v’. I read Rachmaninoff himself used the ‘ff’ so he chose. So be it.)
I thought Trifonov’s Concerto No. 1 was stellar, No. 3 good but not to Horowitz level. I hasten to confess a lack of in-depth knowledge other than playing the piano growing up, quit at 16. My long time friend Ken would have the insight I lack but sadly lost touch. He was a terrific pianist.
I am unclear as to whether to buy Concerto No. 2. Collecting many, I settled on Richter and Rubinstein as best. Richter was an incredible talent, remarked upon by Rubinstein as the best, Horowitz as the only pianist in Russia of special note (high praise from Horowitz who was jealous of his reputation). Rubinstein’s recording is lush.
5* for No. 1, 4* for No. 3.