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Rachmaninoff: Preludes


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5 used from CDN$ 0.90

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Aug. 1 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA Gold Seal/Bmg
  • ASIN: B000026P09
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #87,021 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Simply put, if not the finest, this certainly is one of the finest complete recordings of Rachmaninoff's Preludes available. Weissenberg's musicianship, intuitive prowess, and flawless technical command of these remarkably difficult pieces throughout is astounding. In the numerous complex passages where Rachmaninoff creates the subtlest and most colorful sonorities especially, Weissenberg's deft, seemingly effortless articulation rivals Rachmaninoff's own performances. And don't let the late 1960's recording date deter you- the sound is remarkably good.

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By GEORGE RANNIE on June 21 2004
Format: Audio CD
THE BEST
I own many recordings of the Rachmaninoff Piano Preludes; however, Alexis Weissenberg's playing of them is the very best. The thunderous ones are delivered with jaw-dropping bravura and the tender ones are delivered with great emotional restraint and depth coming from his very soul. Your won't believe Alexis' technique.
Many pianist have complained that Rachmaninoff's piano works are almost unplayable due to the fact they were written for Rachmaninoff himself whose hands were physically enormous. I can remember many years ago an interview with a world famous pianist that had just recorded the Preludes and he was almost in tears recounting the demands of the works he had just recorded. Well, from listening to Weissenberg's recording, I don't think he shed any tears over the demands of the works. His playing is truly exciting in every way.
If you want to hear the Rachmaninoff Preludes played as no one else can play them, buy this disc.
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By Mr. A on March 13 2004
Format: Audio CD
A magnificent experience. The controlled violence of these performances is viscerally - and spiritually - exultant. The music speaks directly, with harrowing emotional impact.
The best complete set of Rachmaninoff preludes ever: ideal.
If ever Beethoven's epigraph "From the heart - may it go to the heart!" applies to any performances, it applies to these.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
SIMPLY THE BEST June 21 2004
By GEORGE RANNIE - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
THE BEST
I own many recordings of the Rachmaninoff Piano Preludes; however, Alexis Weissenberg's playing of them is the very best. The thunderous ones are delivered with jaw-dropping bravura and the tender ones are delivered with great emotional depth coming from his very soul. You won't believe Alexis' technique.
Many pianist have complained that Rachmaninoff's piano works are almost unplayable due to the fact they were written for Rachmaninoff himself whose hands were physically enormous. I can remember many years ago an interview with a world famous pianist that had just recorded the Preludes and he was almost in tears recounting the demands of the works he had just recorded. Well, from listening to Weissenberg?s recording, I don't think he shed any tears over the demands of the works. His playing is truly exciting in every way.
If you want to hear the Rachmaninoff Preludes played as no one else can play them, buy this disc.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Best performances available. June 7 2003
By D. R. Schryer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Alexis Weissenberg is a superb pianist -- quite possibly the greatest pianist of the recorded era. It is difficult for me to understand why he has never received the accolades accorded to, say, Horowitz. Although Weissenberg's technique is astounding, it is always used not for show but in support of his incredible artistry. His performances of the Rachmaninov Preludes are quite simply awesome -- covering the full range from gently lyrical to stormingly exhuberent, depending upon what is appropriate for the music. You will probably never hear a finer performance of this music -- or finer piano playing in any reperoire.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Simply DEFINATIVE July 1 2008
By Sir Butternut Longsword - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have an enormous collection these Preludes. From Richter, Rachmaninov, Horowitz, Sofronitsky, to Hayroudinoff, Luganksy, and all the wonderful ones in between[Hofmann, Gilels, Moiseiwitsch, etc]. As far as single collections go[those containing all the preludes] this one has never been surpassed. And I dont think there has ever been a faster, more clear recording of op23.2. Breathtaking!!!!
Weissenberg himself is a shockingly inconsistent pianist. It is inconceivable to me how one pianist that can produce such a volcanic talent here can also bore you to sleep with his Goldberg variations, but, as with Richter, when he is at his best-he is one of the greats[I would never compare him directly to Richter-or anyone else for that matter[.
For those looking to purchase one disc containing all of these remarkable pieces, look no furthur. Richter never recorded them all, nor did Moiseiwitsch or Rach himself. More recently a pianist named Rustem Hayroudinoff recorded them all for Chandos, and did so very well. But they dont stand up to these. The sound is fine-there is absolutely nothing to complain about there.
Dont hesitate. This is a set for a lifetime.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A majestic performance July 11 2005
By V. Arni - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
What is really incredible in this CD is not only the great artistry and lyricism, of Weissenberg - from the hammer blows to the murmers - but the quality of sound which is superb enough to demonstrate the capabilities of one's wide-range audio systems. Although recorded in 1968-69, it is obvious that the recording engineers of that time had the technical capabilities to capture the sound of the piano in all its magnificience, seldom reached with all of the current technology. (My CD is a reissue on the BMG label and although not so marked on the jewel case, it is a - to repeat,a brilliantly - remastered disk). One hears the composer and the performer working together transparently. That is what CD-making should be all about!
26 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Sometimes good, but not definitive May 2 2005
By Michael Rindt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Alexis Weissenberg is a fairly one-dimensional pianist. In the liner notes, he says "I am basically an aggressive person, and I could not behave otherwise toward an instrument that I try to possess." In short, Weissenberg attempts to mercilessly pound the instrument into submission. His aggressive style makes the music sound hard, which it is, of course, but, as Liszt felt, virtuosity is not an end in itself but a means of getting at the soul of the music. The point of extreme virtuosity is actually NOT to call attention to itself but, rather, to make the difficult seem effortless. Weissenberg plays in a manner which seems intent on saying, "Look! I can play really hard music!" I also own and have studied the complete prelude recordings of Howard Shelley and Vladimir Ashkenazy, both of whom seem far less labored with the virtuosity and have more time for interpretation. Generally, they both even take faster tempos on the "hard" ones than Weissenberg and sound better doing it.

Having said that, is is interesting to me that Weissenberg is actually at his best when he is FORCED to interpret and emote. In preludes that are songful rather than overtly athletic (i.e. D Major, Gb Major, G Major, F Major), he strikes a wonderful balance between aggression and beauty. The D Major, in particular, is glorious, full of passion and eroticism rather than the staid, obligatory love song that is normally made of it.

I don't mean to suggest that the fast ones are bad and the slow ones are good. Many of the performances are at least tolerable. Along with the ones already mentioned, other effective performances include the preludes in C# Minor, Bb Major, E Minor, F Minor, and G# Minor. I consider this compilation an interesting disc for study and reflection on piano technique and interpretation, recommended for pianists studying the preludes. For those looking for their first, or a definitive, set of the preludes, I would recommend looking to Howard Shelley or Vladimir Ashkenazy.


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