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Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini / Variations

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 12, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Lugansky favors a nimble, supple approach rather than a flashy bombastic style, although in the climaxes of all three works there's a steely-fingered assertiveness that reminds us of his status as a Prokofiev interpreter. Here he plays all three of Rachmaninov's piano works structured as "variations on a theme," the most famous, of course, being the composer's ever-popular Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, where he's joined by conductor Sakari Oramo and the fine Birmingham band. Despite the recorded competition, Lugansky is worth hearing for his individual approach, at times recalling Prokofiev's piano concertos, and in slow sections like the sumptuously haunting 16th and 17th variations, adopting a leaner version of poetic Romanticism. The Corelli Variations offer similarly strong contrasts; witness the slow, stately statement of the Andante opening and the thrusting, light touch in the fleet fifth Variation. In the Chopin Variations the slow early ones are ruminative, the faster ones feature fleet-fingered buoyancy that brings remarkable clarity to the runs of the 10th variation. An interesting program, worth hearing even for those who think they're tired of the familiar Paganini piece. --Dan Davis

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Introduction: Allegro Vivace
  2. II. L'istesso Tempo/III. L'istesso Tempo/IV. Piu Vivo/V. Tempo Precedente/VI. L'istesso Tempo
  3. VII. Meno Mosso, A Tempo Moderato
  4. VIII. Tempo I/IX. L'istesso Tempo
  5. X. Poco Marcato
  6. XI. Moderato
  7. XII. Tempo Di Minuetto
  8. XIII. Allegro/XIV. L'istesso Tempo/XV Piu Vivo Scherzando
  9. XVI. Allegretto
  10. XVIII. Andante Cantabile
  11. XIX. L'istesso Tempo/XX. Un Poco Piu Vivo/XXI. Un Poco Piu Vivo/XXII. Un Poco Piu Vivo (Alla Breve)
  12. XXIII. L'istesso Tempo/XXIV. A Tempo Un Poco Meno Mosso
  13. Theme: Andante
  14. I. Poco Piu Mosso/II. L'istesso Tempo
  15. III. Tempo Di Menuetto
  16. IV. Andante
  17. V. Allegro/VI. L'istesso Tempo/VII. Vivace
  18. VIII. Adagio Misterioso
  19. IX. Un Poco Piu Mosso/X. Allegro Scherzando/XI. Allegro Vivace/XII. L'istesso Tempo
  20. XIII. Agitato/Intermezzo: A Tempo Rubato/XIV. Andante/XV. L'istesso Tempo
  21. XVI. Allegro Vivace/XVII. Meno Mosso
  22. XVIII. Allegro Con Brio/XIX. Piu Mosso - Agitato/XX. Piu Mosso Coda: Andante
  23. Theme: Largo
  24. I. Moderato/II. Allegro/III. L'istesso Tempo/IV. L'istesso Tempo/V. Meno Mosso/VI. Meno Mosso
  25. VII. Allegro/VIII. L'istesso Tempo/IX. L'istesso Tempo/X. Piu Vivo
  26. XI. Lento
  27. XII. Moderato
  28. XIII. Largo
  29. XIV. ModeratoXV. Allegro Scherzando
  30. XVI. Lento/XVII. Grave
  31. XVIII. Piu Mosso
  32. XIX. Allegro Vivace/XX. Presto
  33. XXI. Andante - Piu Vivo
  34. XXII. Maestoso - Meno Mosso - Presto

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 12, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B0002W384G
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,654 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By David Saemann VINE VOICE on June 23, 2008
Format: Audio CD
It was a brilliant idea to collect three of Rachmaninoff's variations pieces on one CD, regardless of how many are with orchestra The Paganini Rhapsody is a terrific performance. Lugansky handles the bravura moments very impressively, while Oramo's orchestra plays with verve and precision. Some writers have criticized Lugansky for being too reserved in the work's more emotive moments. I would say that there is a reticence to his playing, but he maintains a light and shade along with a beautiful feeling for the harmonic logic that renders his playing all of a piece, even in the more emotional moments. The solo works are given big, brawny performances, but always with logic and never any caprice. On the basis of this disc, Lugansky is clearly a major pianist whom we should be hearing more from. If you are looking for a version of the Paganini Rhapsody with more heart on its sleeve, I would recommend the classic Entremont/Ormandy rendition.
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Format: Audio CD
For those who like Lugansky's playing (as I do) you might be interested to know that this CD with the Paganini Rhapsody plus the Variations on a Theme by Corelli and that on a Theme by Chopin, as well as the two CDs containing the four concertos are now part of a budget-priced 9CD box costing about the same as two CDs at full price. It is here: Nikolai Lugansky

Check it out.

Scott Morrison
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When i ordered the CD, I didn't really look what was on the disc, I just wanted all 24 versions of Rachmaninoff variations on Paganini's theme.Imagine my surprise when I found it also contained all of his variations on themes by both Corelli and Chopin.
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