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Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto

BBC Symphony Orchestra; Rudolf Audio CD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 21.10 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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1. Concerto For Piano And Orchestra No.3 In D Minor, Op.30: I. Allegro Ma Non Tanto
2. Concerto For Piano And Orchestra No.3 In D Minor, Op.30: II. Intermezzo. Adagio
3. Concerto For Piano And Orchestra No.3 In D Minor, Op.30: III. Finale. Alla Breve
4. Concerto For Piano And Orchestra No.2 In G Minor, Op.16: I. Andantino
5. Concerto For Piano And Orchestra No.2 In G Minor, Op.16: II. Scherzo. Vivace
6. Concerto For Piano And Orchestra No.2 In G Minor, Op.16: III. Intermezzo. Allegro Moderato
7. Concerto For Piano And Orchestra No.2 In G Minor, Op.16: IV. Finale. Allegro Tempestoso

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Spoiled Rachmaninov but Great Prokofiev Sept. 23 2002
Format:Audio CD
I am a fan of Shura Cherkassy, and so it was with great anticipation that I bought this recording. I think Mr. Cherkassy plays the Rachmaninov Third beautifully (my wife thinks otherwise) and he is supported well enough by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Rudolf Schwartz. This recording is from the 1950's and the sound is good. However, the last bars of the third movement are spoiled when Mr. Cherkassy gets ahead of the orchestra so the finish of the concerto is hardly clean. At the time critics were not very impressed with Mr. Cherkassy's performance and blamed him for the poor mistake. In spite of this, this disc was issued because Mr. Cherkassy's playing, up to that point, is quite beautiful.
The Prokofiev Second is the redeeming factor for this disc. It is well played by both Mr. Cherkassy and the orchestra under Kent Nagano. Comparing this recording to the one made by Valery Gergiev and the Kirov, it is a bit slower. However, Shura Cherkassy was in his 80's and is surprisingly nibble-fingered for such a difficult piece. For the Rachmaninov, this not a recording I would listen to on a regular basis but the Prokofiev is magnificent and a recording for which Mr. Cherkassy can be proud.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spontaneity in the Rachmaninoff 3rd Feb. 6 2007
By D. Parrett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
When Rachmaninoff 3rd concerto interpretations become predictable, this one will be enjoyed. My favorite recording of this concerto is Horowitz and Barbirolli's breathtakingly focused and violent account in 1941. This is the exact opposite.

In this live performance, creativity and confusion ensues, especially at the very end (where it gets downright embarrasing). This is probably not for first time listeners of this great concerto. The sound is a bit dated (recorded in 1957) and the structure of the work is the last thing Cherkassky was trying to emphasize.

Overall, a recommended recording for those who already know this work. Classic recordings of the Rachmaninoff 3rd include: Horowitz and Reiner in 1951, Cliburn and Kondrashin in 1958. More recent (good) recordings include Nakamatsu and Seaman in 2000, and Volodos and Levine in 2000.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Spoiled Rachmaninov but Great Prokofiev Sept. 23 2002
By David A. Wend - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I am a fan of Shura Cherkassky, and so it was with great anticipation that I bought this recording. I think Mr. Cherkassky plays the Rachmaninov Third beautifully (my wife thinks otherwise) and he is supported well enough by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Rudolf Schwartz. This recording is from the 1950's and the sound is good. However, the last bars of the third movement are spoiled when Mr. Cherkassky gets ahead of the orchestra so the finish of the concerto is hardly clean. At the time critics were not very impressed with Mr. Cherkassky's performance and blamed him for the poor mistake. In spite of this, this disc was issued because Mr. Cherkassy's playing, up to that point, is quite beautiful.

The Prokofiev Second is the redeeming factor for this disc. It is well played by both Mr. Cherkassky and the orchestra under Kent Nagano. Comparing this recording to the one made by Valery Gergiev and the Kirov, it is a bit slower. However, Shura Cherkassky was in his 80's and is surprisingly nibble-fingered for such a difficult piece. For the Rachmaninov, this not a recording I would listen to on a regular basis but the Prokofiev is magnificent and a recording for which Mr. Cherkassky can be proud.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars They really shouldn't have! Feb. 14 2007
By Alan G. Chun - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Cherkassky and Schwarz lose track of each other at the end of the Rachmaninov. It is stated that the producer decided to issue the recording anyway, due to the high caliber of the performance prior to the final snafu. Questionable decision, considering the number and quality of recorded performances there are to choose from. The performances of soloist and orchestra are underpowered and the interpretation stodgy, and the vintage recorded sound does nothing to enhance the overall impression.

I would have given the recording 3 stars, but for the unfortunate coupling of the Prokofiev Second. This is one of the most technically challenging piano concertos in the modern repertoire, and it takes a player of formidable technique and interpretive skills to pull it off. It is obvious from Cherkassky's labored performance that he was no longer up to the task. The opening movement's long, difficult cadenza mercilessly exposes his lack of digital dexterity. In most of the bravura passages, he simply stomps down on the sustain pedal and takes a stab at the keys, hitting a very low percentage of the correct ones. Sometimes he speeds up to gloss it over, and other times he slows down to labor over a passage. As one who has sight read the entire score many times over and owns 22 versions on CD or LP, the end result is truly excruciating. Prior reviewers who liked the performance likely have never experienced how truly searing, sarcastic, virtuostic and brilliant this concerto can sound in the proper hands, say Ashkenazy, Gutierrez, Frager, Krainev or Toradze, to name just a few.

In fairness to Cherkassky, he was in his 80's when the Prokofiev was recorded, and would die 4 years later. His long, distinguished career should not be judged on this atypically poor performance, that should never have been preserved in the first place.
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