Discussion:
Zimerman Rachmaninov CD
(too old to reply)
Alex
2004-02-24 12:30:07 UTC
Permalink
Been listening to this new DG release for about a week, and I like it very
much. As KZ mentions in the booklet, his interpretations are wilder and
freer than some might expect - which certainly applies to the First Concerto
which is very excitingly played - almost manic in the cadenza in fact. That
recording dates from 1997, while the Second was done in 2000. I think this
version of the First is one of the best, alongside Janis and Pletnev.

The recordings are good, with the piano very clear but not too prominent at
the expense of the Boston SO who play very well under Ozawa, who is also
more exciting an accompanist than one might expect.

One slight caveat is that occasionally, more often in the 2nd, one hears
rather too much of the solo part, specifically too many notes perhaps (was
it Reiner who groaned that he could hear too many notes in a La Mer
rehearsal)? It may be the 2000 recording of the 2nd that is slightly
clearer, but in both concertos' slow movements I occasionally felt that he
was playing slightly too loudly, but this may partly owing to the sound on
MD and/or headphones, which I have been using to listen to this most of the
time.

Alex
Simon Smith
2004-02-24 12:42:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alex
Been listening to this new DG release for about a week, and I like it
very much. As KZ mentions in the booklet, his interpretations are wilder
and freer than some might expect - which certainly applies to the First
Concerto which is very excitingly played - almost manic in the cadenza in
fact. That recording dates from 1997, while the Second was done in 2000.
I think this version of the First is one of the best, alongside Janis and
Pletnev.
I quite agree - this is one of the best Firsts I've heard (it's a greatly
under-rated piece IMHO.)
Post by Alex
One slight caveat is that occasionally, more often in the 2nd, one hears
rather too much of the solo part, specifically too many notes perhaps
(was it Reiner who groaned that he could hear too many notes in a La Mer
rehearsal)? It may be the 2000 recording of the 2nd that is slightly
clearer, but in both concertos' slow movements I occasionally felt that
he was playing slightly too loudly, but this may partly owing to the
sound on MD and/or headphones, which I have been using to listen to this
most of the time.
I agree again. In the climax of the finale in the Second you can hear loads
of piano, which is a bit pointless since it's not doing anything
interesting and is obviously unnaturally (artificially) balanced. In
general I was totally unimpressed with this recording of this piece, but
then I do despise the piece anyway (in contrast with the First it's
obviously one of the most stupidly over-rated pieces ever) so I can't say
I'm bothered too much by it.
--
Simon Smith "I am myself only in music. Music is enough
http://www.ingemisco.com for a whole lifetime - but a lifetime is not
enough for music." (Sergei Rachmaninov)
Alex
2004-02-24 15:04:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Simon Smith
Post by Alex
Been listening to this new DG release for about a week, and I like it
very much. As KZ mentions in the booklet, his interpretations are wilder
and freer than some might expect - which certainly applies to the First
Concerto which is very excitingly played - almost manic in the cadenza in
fact. That recording dates from 1997, while the Second was done in 2000.
I think this version of the First is one of the best, alongside Janis and
Pletnev.
I quite agree - this is one of the best Firsts I've heard (it's a greatly
under-rated piece IMHO.)
Post by Alex
One slight caveat is that occasionally, more often in the 2nd, one hears
rather too much of the solo part, specifically too many notes perhaps
(was it Reiner who groaned that he could hear too many notes in a La Mer
rehearsal)? It may be the 2000 recording of the 2nd that is slightly
clearer, but in both concertos' slow movements I occasionally felt that
he was playing slightly too loudly, but this may partly owing to the
sound on MD and/or headphones, which I have been using to listen to this
most of the time.
I agree again. In the climax of the finale in the Second you can hear loads
of piano, which is a bit pointless since it's not doing anything
interesting and is obviously unnaturally (artificially) balanced. In
general I was totally unimpressed with this recording of this piece, but
then I do despise the piece anyway (in contrast with the First it's
obviously one of the most stupidly over-rated pieces ever) so I can't say
I'm bothered too much by it.
Yes, you're right about the climax in 2/iii. The fact that the soloist
'only' plays harmonies was IIRC the reason Horowitz didn't play it - and
even suggested a rejigging of his part to Rachmaninov. Surprising as KZ has
rejected plenty of recordings he's made owing to recording flaws.

Ozawa's accompaniment in #1 is better than in #2 as well - for a really good
digital 2nd I like Grimaud's on Teldec - Ashkenazy's accompaniment is really
fine, the Slavonic second subject in the Finale is played very idiomatically
by the Philharmonia.
Raab Himself
2004-02-25 21:36:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alex
Post by Simon Smith
Post by Alex
Been listening to this new DG release for about a week, and I like it
very much. As KZ mentions in the booklet, his interpretations are
wilder
Post by Simon Smith
Post by Alex
and freer than some might expect - which certainly applies to the First
Concerto which is very excitingly played - almost manic in the cadenza
in
Post by Simon Smith
Post by Alex
fact. That recording dates from 1997, while the Second was done in
2000.
Post by Simon Smith
Post by Alex
I think this version of the First is one of the best, alongside Janis
and
Post by Simon Smith
Post by Alex
Pletnev.
I quite agree - this is one of the best Firsts I've heard (it's a greatly
under-rated piece IMHO.)
Agreed here as well, on all counts! Although I don't think Zimerman is quite
expressive enough in the second movement of the First Concerto, overall this
performance instantly went close to the top of my list of favorites for this
piece. My surprising (for me) first choice in the second movement of the
First is Ashkenazy with Haitink on London/Decca. In general I am not a fan
of Ashkenazy's recent pianism, but here (and in the Paganini Rhapsody from
the same set) he is wonderful.
Post by Alex
Post by Simon Smith
Post by Alex
One slight caveat is that occasionally, more often in the 2nd, one hears
rather too much of the solo part, specifically too many notes perhaps
(was it Reiner who groaned that he could hear too many notes in a La Mer
rehearsal)? It may be the 2000 recording of the 2nd that is slightly
clearer, but in both concertos' slow movements I occasionally felt that
he was playing slightly too loudly, but this may partly owing to the
sound on MD and/or headphones, which I have been using to listen to this
most of the time.
I agree again. In the climax of the finale in the Second you can hear
loads
Post by Simon Smith
of piano, which is a bit pointless since it's not doing anything
interesting and is obviously unnaturally (artificially) balanced. In
general I was totally unimpressed with this recording of this piece, but
then I do despise the piece anyway (in contrast with the First it's
obviously one of the most stupidly over-rated pieces ever) so I can't say
I'm bothered too much by it.
I think my main complaint with the recording of the 2nd is that the
orchestra is too recessed -- or should I say the piano is too far forward. I
think Zimerman's interpretation is wonderful taken on its own. I like it
from the very start, when he takes the opening chords so slowly, and the
development section of the first movement is very exciting. I don't have any
problem with the rest of his performance. I think the engineering balance is
unfortunate but of course not his fault.

In general this CD will be one that I'll return to often for these pieces. I
wonder if there is any hope of KZ recording the Third?

Regards,
Raab
Post by Alex
Yes, you're right about the climax in 2/iii. The fact that the soloist
'only' plays harmonies was IIRC the reason Horowitz didn't play it - and
even suggested a rejigging of his part to Rachmaninov. Surprising as KZ has
rejected plenty of recordings he's made owing to recording flaws.
Ozawa's accompaniment in #1 is better than in #2 as well - for a really good
digital 2nd I like Grimaud's on Teldec - Ashkenazy's accompaniment is really
fine, the Slavonic second subject in the Finale is played very
idiomatically
Post by Alex
by the Philharmonia.
Simon Smith
2004-02-25 21:53:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Raab Himself
In general this CD will be one that I'll return to often for these
pieces. I wonder if there is any hope of KZ recording the Third?
Well he does talk about that in the booklet! Personally I'd love to hear a
Fourth from him.
--
Simon Smith "I am myself only in music. Music is enough
http://www.ingemisco.com for a whole lifetime - but a lifetime is not
enough for music." (Sergei Rachmaninov)
Raab Himself
2004-02-26 01:00:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Simon Smith
Post by Raab Himself
In general this CD will be one that I'll return to often for these
pieces. I wonder if there is any hope of KZ recording the Third?
Well he does talk about that in the booklet!
Ah, I now see that you are right. So often the booklets yield nothing new or
interesting anymore so I am in the habit of not even opening them. Thanks
for the tip.

Based on what he says there, it is encouraging that the Third has such an
emotional effect on him, but disappointing that he doesn't feel ready to
record it yet. We can hold out a hope that he'll get to where he can before
his technique starts to fade.

Raab
d***@yahoo.com
2004-02-26 02:03:26 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 25 Feb 2004 20:00:02 -0500, "Raab Himself"
Post by Raab Himself
Post by Simon Smith
Post by Raab Himself
In general this CD will be one that I'll return to often for these
pieces. I wonder if there is any hope of KZ recording the Third?
Well he does talk about that in the booklet!
Ah, I now see that you are right. So often the booklets yield nothing new or
interesting anymore so I am in the habit of not even opening them. Thanks
for the tip.
Based on what he says there, it is encouraging that the Third has such an
emotional effect on him, but disappointing that he doesn't feel ready to
record it yet. We can hold out a hope that he'll get to where he can before
his technique starts to fade.
Raab
Actually, it is something of a blessing.

He shows almost no identification - except in the CD notes - with
Rachmaninoff's music.

The CD is a disaster.

TD

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