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Rachmaninoff: The Transcriptions Import

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, November 19, 1993
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions: The Flight of the Bumblebee
  2. Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions: Liebesleid
  3. Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions: Minuet, From 'L' Arlesienne' Suite No. 1
  4. Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions: Wohin?
  5. Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions: Hopak
  6. Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions: Prelude, From Violin Partita In E Major
  7. Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions: Gavotte, From Violin Partita In E major
  8. Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions: Gigue, From Violin Partita In E Major
  9. Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions: Daisies, Op. 38 No. 3
  10. Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions: Scherzo, From 'A Midsummer Nights's Dream'
  11. Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions: Lilacs, Op. 21 No. 5
  12. Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions: Polka de V R
  13. Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions: Lullaby, Op. 16 No. 1
  14. Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions: Liebesfreud
  15. Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions: Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14


Product Details

  • Performer: Howard Shelley
  • Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Fritz Kreisler, Georges Bizet, Modeste Mussorgsky, et al.
  • Audio CD (November 19, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion UK
  • ASIN: B000002ZPC
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,744 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

This recording is uncomparable. None of these transcriptions is easy to perform, but Shelley's playing sounds like pure music and is never a demonstration of his technical abilities (this can only be achieved by best pianists). Unfortunately the Rachmaninov transcriptions and arrangements for solo piano are very limited (14), and one of his best pieces (Vocalise) had never been transcribed for piano by the composer. So Shelley adds to this album his performance of Vocalise transcribed by Zoltan Kocsis. I personally think it is better than the Zoltan Kocsis' own performance. Rachmaninov' songs arranged by the author (Daisies, Lilacs) are brilliant. Their readings by Shelley are not inferior to that of Rachmaninov. Unfortunately, in "Shelley plays Rachmaninov" series the transciptions for four hands are missing, but the whole collection including works for piano and orchestra is strongly recommended.
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Howard Shelley is one of today's best pianists. Hyperion is one of the world's most important recording companies, recording much beautiful classical music that has been neglected by others. Everything here is just fine: playing, recording, notes, and delightful music.
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This disc from 1991 is such a masterly traversal of the Rachmaninov transcriptions that it makes comparisons seem pointless. The coverage itself is comprehensive, the playing demonstrates a comprehensive technical assurance coupled with a complete empathy with Rachmaninov's style of piano writing. If that were not enough, the performance side of the disc has been matched by sound engineering that seems as faultless twenty years later as it did when first issued.

This is as close to a rave review as it is possible to get and is therefore a completely rare thing in my long list of reviews. There is little else I can suggest other than to consider this disc most strongly for potential purchase.
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As a pianist, I have always been a great admirer of Rachmaninoff's work. (Who couldn't?) These transcriptions must rank amont his best works for the keyboard. Particularly Mendelssohn's Summer Night's Dream is played here with such brilliancy and determination that I cannot but listen in total awe at the mastery of technique and expression by Howard Shelley. (see another version by Alexander Paley, equally gorgeous, but none as close to this speed and control, to see what I mean). A real must-have for piano lovers!
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