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Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos.1 & 2, Preludes Hybrid SACD


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In celebration of their twentieth anniversary, this essential release from Praga focuses on the artistry of the great Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter. In an all-Rachmaninov program, Richter is heard in the first two Piano Concertos accompanied by the great conductor Kurt Sanderling in live performances recorded in the 50s - well before he began touring internationally. Praga's hybrid SACD pairs remastered monophonic recordings of the concertos with four of Richter's favorite Preludes recorded in stereo during his first tour of North America in 1960. Praga has employed the best of today's cutting-edge restoration techniques to present these important historical recordings in all their original glory.

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Amazon.com: 1 review
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Great performers in lousy sound, for diehard Richter fans Sept. 2 2012
By G. Bell - Published on Amazon.com
I need to modify my review. When played from my speakers, I really do not like the sound, as listed below. However, when I play it through my headphones (nice Sennheisers) the sound is much better and I do not get that crowded congested feel. So, could be my system is in need of repair, or the headphone simply give a better sound. Regardless, the SACD sound will likely be variable for you too.

Overall I like the recent sound quality from Praga. They have gotten rid of their Soviet Era equipment. The problem here is the Soviet Era recording.

This disk is a live peformance on Soviet equipment. It has been scrubbed and sounds very processed. I hate the closed taped synthetic sound. Pianist and orchestra are not balanced. Passages are obscured. Tone color is lost. The string, at times, sound like band saws. BUT...

Richter is one of the greatest pianists of the last century. And, while he makes a strange intro in the Rach 2 where he and the orchestra are not in sync - interesting but to my ears a stumble- this changes quickly enough and it becomes a thrilling performance.

Within seconds, I thought, why am I listening to this? I have Richter's Philips and other recordings that are in much better sound, with great performances. Problem is, he is my favorite pianist of the last century and I did listen to it repeatedly after swearing I would take it back for credit, and I stopped what I was doing over and over and thought, God, that's good.

Life is short, listen to other wonderful Richter performances in much better sound on say Philips or brace for the Soviet sound and enjoy.

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