Discussion:
Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
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Rugby
2008-02-26 04:44:49 UTC
Permalink
Received the excellent Obert-Thorn Naxos transfers of the 2nd and 3rd
concerti with Stokowski and Ormandy.

In the 1929 recording of the 2nd, does SVR slightly break every other
left-hand chord at the beginning ( he could reportedly span a 13th in
the left hand), or a performance style of his Age ? Despite the quick
tempi,SVR plays the main first mov.theme with much wonderful rubato
and schmalz,IMHO.The " alla marcia" first mov. climax might actually
be a tad bit slower than the Rubinstein/Reiner ? But the slow mov. was
disappointing, rather prosaic.The finale sparkles, though,"forward"
playing I believe it was described here earlier.

SVR's 1940 recording of the 3rd is dashing, very quick tempi. SVR
certainly did not need to defer to Horowitz and Gieseking in matters
of technique in this work, as the liner notes report he did.But the
cuts seem odd in our no - cut age, and I could not escape the sense
SVR had become a bit tired of the piece.

Sonic limitations aside, not sure SVR brought to these works in his
playing everything he gave them in the scores.Perhaps his self-
doubting lingered on after Dr.Dahl ? Or we make more of these
warhorses than SVR intended ?

Still, sends chills down one's spine to hear these legends at work and
together. Does SVR's playing remind of Hofmann's playing, or vice
versa ?

Regards, Rugby
L***@aol.com
2008-02-26 04:53:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rugby
Received the excellent Obert-Thorn Naxos transfers of the 2nd and 3rd
concerti with Stokowski and Ormandy.
In the 1929 recording of the 2nd, does SVR slightly break every other
left-hand �chord at the beginning ( he could reportedly span a 13th in
the left hand), or a performance style of his Age ? Despite the quick
tempi,SVR plays the main first mov.theme with much wonderful rubato
and schmalz,IMHO.The " alla marcia" first mov. climax might actually
be a tad bit slower than the Rubinstein/Reiner ? But the slow mov. was
disappointing, rather prosaic.The finale sparkles, though,"forward"
playing I believe it was described here earlier.
SVR's 1940 recording of the 3rd is dashing, very quick tempi. SVR
certainly did not need to defer to Horowitz and Gieseking in matters
of technique in this work, as the liner notes report he did.But the
cuts seem odd in our no - cut age, and I could not escape the sense
SVR had become a bit tired of the piece.
Sonic limitations aside, not sure SVR brought to these works in his
playing everything he gave them in the scores.Perhaps his self-
doubting lingered on after Dr.Dahl ? Or we make more of these
warhorses than SVR intended ?
Still, sends chills down one's spine to hear these legends at work and
together. Does SVR's playing remind of Hofmann's playing, or vice
versa ?
Regards, Rugby
The very first time I heard one this composer's recordings of the
second, I was surprised by how much vulnerablity comes through. I was
floored.

I hear that the chords at the beginning are not played with all the
notes at the same time. I don't know if some of you would call it a
slight roll of a chord to play the first lower note seperately of a
chrod, but it sounds like a rocking motion from the lowest note
upward.

**********Val
Brendan R. Wehrung
2008-02-26 06:02:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by L***@aol.com
Post by Rugby
Received the excellent Obert-Thorn Naxos transfers of the 2nd and 3rd
concerti with Stokowski and Ormandy.
In the 1929 recording of the 2nd, does SVR slightly break every other
left-hand =EF=BF=BDchord at the beginning ( he could reportedly span a 13t=
h in
Post by Rugby
the left hand), or a performance style of his Age ? Despite the quick
tempi,SVR plays the main first mov.theme with much wonderful rubato
and schmalz,IMHO.The " alla marcia" first mov. climax might actually
be a tad bit slower than the Rubinstein/Reiner ? But the slow mov. was
disappointing, rather prosaic.The finale sparkles, though,"forward"
playing I believe it was described here earlier.
SVR's 1940 recording of the 3rd is dashing, very quick tempi. SVR
certainly did not need to defer to Horowitz and Gieseking in matters
of technique in this work, as the liner notes report he did.But the
cuts seem odd in our no - cut age, and I could not escape the sense
SVR had become a bit tired of the piece.
Sonic limitations aside, not sure SVR brought to these works in his
playing everything he gave them in the scores.Perhaps his self-
doubting lingered on after Dr.Dahl ? Or we make more of these
warhorses than SVR intended ?
Still, sends chills down one's spine to hear these legends at work and
together. Does SVR's playing remind of Hofmann's playing, or vice
versa ?
Regards, Rugby
The very first time I heard one this composer's recordings of the
second, I was surprised by how much vulnerablity comes through. I was
floored.
I hear that the chords at the beginning are not played with all the
notes at the same time. I don't know if some of you would call it a
slight roll of a chord to play the first lower note seperately of a
chrod, but it sounds like a rocking motion from the lowest note
upward.
**********Val
This was supposedly a trick he used in editing his piano rolls (he had
only one man he would work with), which did not have the advanage of more
than aproximation of dynamic shading--one note struck slighly ahead of the
full chord so it stuck in the mind.

Rachmaninov's rolls were perhaps the best arguement for the process ever made.

Brendan
JohnGavin
2008-02-26 18:48:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by L***@aol.com
Post by Rugby
Received the excellent Obert-Thorn Naxos transfers of the 2nd and 3rd
concerti with Stokowski and Ormandy.
In the 1929 recording of the 2nd, does SVR slightly break every other
left-hand �chord at the beginning ( he could reportedly span a 13th in
the left hand), or a performance style of his Age ? Despite the quick
tempi,SVR plays the main first mov.theme with much wonderful rubato
and schmalz,IMHO.The " alla marcia" first mov. climax might actually
be a tad bit slower than the Rubinstein/Reiner ? But the slow mov. was
disappointing, rather prosaic.The finale sparkles, though,"forward"
playing I believe it was described here earlier.
SVR's 1940 recording of the 3rd is dashing, very quick tempi. SVR
certainly did not need to defer to Horowitz and Gieseking in matters
of technique in this work, as the liner notes report he did.But the
cuts seem odd in our no - cut age, and I could not escape the sense
SVR had become a bit tired of the piece.
Sonic limitations aside, not sure SVR brought to these works in his
playing everything he gave them in the scores.Perhaps his self-
doubting lingered on after Dr.Dahl ? Or we make more of these
warhorses than SVR intended ?
Still, sends chills down one's spine to hear these legends at work and
together. Does SVR's playing remind of Hofmann's playing, or vice
versa ?
Regards, Rugby
The very first time I heard one this composer's recordings of the
second, I was surprised by how much vulnerablity comes through.  I was
floored.
  I hear that the chords at the beginning are not played with all the
notes at the same time.  I don't know if some of you would call it a
slight roll of a chord to play the first lower note seperately of a
chrod, but it sounds like a rocking motion from the lowest note
upward.
**********Val- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
His playing always embodied the romantic/classic paradox -
expressiveness tempered by a never-slackening linear tension and feel
for structural discipline and forward motion. Lots of Rachmaninoff
performances lose me because of too much of an amorphous lack of unity
and too much sentimentality.
D***@aol.com
2008-02-26 19:30:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rugby
Received the excellent Obert-Thorn Naxos transfers of the 2nd and 3rd
concerti with Stokowski and Ormandy.
[snip]
Post by Rugby
SVR's 1940 recording of the 3rd is dashing, very quick tempi. SVR
certainly did not need to defer to Horowitz and Gieseking in matters
of technique in this work, as the liner notes report he did.But the
cuts seem odd in our no - cut age, and I could not escape the sense
SVR had become a bit tired of the piece.
This is quite a coincidence -- I have been re-reading Gregor
Piatigorsky's autobiography, "Cellist," and just this morning I read
his account of rehearsing and playing this concerto when he was first
'cellist of the Berlin Philharmonic in the late 1920s. Rachmaninoff
was the pianist, Furtwangler the conductor(!). Piatigorsky wrote that
a preliminary rehearsal was devoted entirely to Furtwangler and the
BPO becoming familiar with numerous cuts Rachmaninoff had specified.
Piatigorsky left the BPO in 1929, so R. had been cutting the concerto
for some time before 1940.

Piatigorsky told an interesting anecdote about the rehearsal with
Rachmaninoff. He wrote that the composer arrived and sat listening in
the hall's seats as Furtwangler rehearsed a symphony. He kept looking
at his watch. Finally he got on the stage, sat down at the piano, and
banged out several loud chords. Furtwangler, startled, turned around.
Rachmaninoff said "my rehearsal is for ten-thirty. It is now ten-
thirty." Furtwangler turned immediately to the concerto.

Piatigorsky's book is well worth searching for, by the way. He had a
neat sense of humor, there are many interesting and sometimes amusing
anecdotes about fellow musicians, and it's astounding to read about
his early years in Berlin as a refugee from the Soviet Union in the
1920s -- broke, playing in restaurants when he could, hungry,
sometimes sleeping on benches in the Tiergarten because he couldn't
afford even one cheap room somewhere or had been evicted from the one
he had because he couldn't pay the paltry rent. Then one person talked
to another about his 'cello playing, he was sought for and asked to
audition for Furtwangler and the BPO, who needed a 'cellist, was hired
as the principal no less, and his career was off like a rocket. It's
like a story from a film. And what he wrote about Serge Koussevitzky
is a remarkable description of and tribute to Koussevitzky's
character and ideals.

Don Tait
Matthew B. Tepper
2008-02-27 06:43:01 UTC
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typed in news:fa0863a3-3a17-4a17-a3c1-
Post by D***@aol.com
Piatigorsky told an interesting anecdote about the rehearsal with
Rachmaninoff. He wrote that the composer arrived and sat listening in
the hall's seats as Furtwangler rehearsed a symphony. He kept looking
at his watch. Finally he got on the stage, sat down at the piano, and
banged out several loud chords. Furtwangler, startled, turned around.
Rachmaninoff said "my rehearsal is for ten-thirty. It is now ten-
thirty." Furtwangler turned immediately to the concerto.
Which confirms Sascha Greiner's (R.'s Steinway technician in New York) claim
that R. was obsessively punctual.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
War is Peace. ** Freedom is Slavery. ** It's all Napster's fault!
Andy Evans
2008-02-27 18:49:23 UTC
Permalink
Does SVR's playing remind of Hofmann's playing, or vice
versa ? >>

Very little similarity to me. Hofmann seemed to me essentially a
classicist - elegant and graceful with an ingenious sense of line, but
with a quite tight structural sense. Perfect in Chopin, and better
than SVR

Rachmaninov is altogether a broader and more romantic canvas - many
more musical risks, a darker imagination. Perfect for....... well,
Rachmaninov.

But don't you just love the mad things he does with Bach? I really
wish he'd recorded a good discful of Scriabin. Did he never play his
contemporary?
JohnGavin
2008-02-27 19:13:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rugby
Does SVR's playing remind of Hofmann's playing, or vice
versa ? >>
Very little similarity to me. Hofmann seemed to me essentially a
classicist - elegant and graceful with an ingenious sense of line, but
with a quite tight structural sense. Perfect in Chopin, and better
than SVR
Rachmaninov is altogether a broader and more romantic canvas - many
more musical risks, a darker imagination. Perfect for....... well,
Rachmaninov.
But don't you just love the mad things he does with Bach? I really
wish he'd recorded a good discful of Scriabin. Did he never play his
contemporary?
Yes, he played the Scriabin 5th Sonata at a memorial for the composer,
and recorded the Prelude in F# minor from op. 11.

What mad things does he do with Bach? There's only the Sarabande from
the 4th Partita to judge from, unless you're talking about his
transcription. Neither seems particularly mad to me.

Also, it's odd that the qualities you describe for Hofmann I would
attribute more to Rachmaninoff!!
Rugby
2008-02-27 23:39:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by JohnGavin
Also, it's odd that the qualities you describe for Hofmann I would
attribute more to Rachmaninoff!!
Which is why I found similarities, as both share all the features Andy
mentions, plus an inclination for fast tempi, effortless sweeping
technique, a penchant for drama, occaisionally unsettling Chopin
playing, and some exaggerations at times. While listening to the 1940
SVR play the Rach 3,I thought to myself this is how Hofmann would have
played it, if his hands were larger (?).

Regards, Rugby
L***@aol.com
2008-02-28 06:28:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rugby
Post by JohnGavin
Also, it's odd that the qualities you describe for Hofmann I would
attribute more to Rachmaninoff!!
Which is why I found similarities, as both share all the features Andy
mentions, plus an inclination for fast tempi, effortless sweeping
technique, a penchant for drama, occaisionally unsettling Chopin
playing, and some exaggerations at times. While listening to the 1940
SVR play the Rach 3,I thought to myself this is how Hofmann would have
played it, if his hands were larger (?).
Regards, Rugby
Yikes, I feel the Earth quaking as two giants toss in their graves.
If Hofman ever played it, he might have interfered with the integrity
of the score, I imagine.
Rachmaninoff has things all balanced, and it would not be a surprise
at
all to find Hofmann converting the Third to a more static work which
he could
then tinker with in a frightening spirit of misguided experimentation.

***************Val
O
2008-02-28 14:58:35 UTC
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In article
Post by L***@aol.com
Post by Rugby
Post by JohnGavin
Also, it's odd that the qualities you describe for Hofmann I would
attribute more to Rachmaninoff!!
Which is why I found similarities, as both share all the features Andy
mentions, plus an inclination for fast tempi, effortless sweeping
technique, a penchant for drama, occaisionally unsettling Chopin
playing, and some exaggerations at times. While listening to the 1940
SVR play the Rach 3,I thought to myself this is how Hofmann would have
played it, if his hands were larger (?).
Regards, Rugby
Yikes, I feel the Earth quaking as two giants toss in their graves.
If Hofman ever played it, he might have interfered with the integrity
of the score, I imagine.
One thing I have a lot of trouble imagining is Rachmaninoff complaining
about Hoffman making cuts!

-Owen

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