Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2, Paganini Rhapsody

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Lang Lang at the keyboard with Valery Gergiev at the podium might seem like too combustible a combination. The young pianist, after all, has quickly become famous for his high-octane virtuosity, while the conductor's take-no-prisoners approach has produced some truly incendiary orchestral recordings, especially in the Russian repertoire that he practically owns these days. What's surprising, then, is how well mannered their collaboration seems in these live recordings of two of Rachmaninoff's most popular works. The results are exciting, to be sure -- technically brilliant and full of personality, with the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre a.k.a. Gergiev's Kirov ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Lang Lang at the keyboard with Valery Gergiev at the podium might seem like too combustible a combination. The young pianist, after all, has quickly become famous for his high-octane virtuosity, while the conductor's take-no-prisoners approach has produced some truly incendiary orchestral recordings, especially in the Russian repertoire that he practically owns these days. What's surprising, then, is how well mannered their collaboration seems in these live recordings of two of Rachmaninoff's most popular works. The results are exciting, to be sure -- technically brilliant and full of personality, with the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre a.k.a. Gergiev's Kirov Orchestra, apparently reverting at long last to its pre-Soviet name contributing a wonderfully Russian darkness of tone -- but also deeply musical, never flashy just for the sake of bravura effect. Having devoted himself to Tchaikovsky's First Concerto on an earlier CD, Lang Lang applies his mastery of grand Romantic gestures to another audience favorite here, Rachmaninoff's Second. Gergiev seems happy to follow the pianist in the music's ebb and flow, lingering along with each of the composer's expansive tunes like a series of beautifully nostalgic memories. If the performance of Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is even more successful, it's doubtless because this work gives Lang Lang more opportunity to revel in high-spirited capers at the keyboard; the lyrical 18th variation is as beguiling as it needs to be, but it's the vigorous wit of the surrounding music that really brings out the pianist's sheer joy in music making. There's a crowded field of Rachmaninoff recordings on the market, both classic and recent including, among the latter, Krystian Zimerman in the First and Second Concertos, and Stephen Hough in the complete works for piano and orchestra, but Lang Lang's meeting with Gergiev earns a solidly satisfying place among them.
All Music Guide
Star pianist Lang Lang joins star conductor Valery Gergiev and the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater to perform two star-making works of the piano and orchestra repertoire. Both works contain themes that are very familiar to many. The third movement of the "Piano Concerto No. 2" contains the "Full Moon and Empty Arms" theme, while the "Rhapsody" has the romantic 18th variation that is frequently heard in film soundtracks. The real attraction here, however, is the combination of two spectacular musicians who each have their own following and their own distinct style of interpretation. Lang Lang is known for being highly individual and subjective, and Gergiev is known for his attention to detail and the vitality of his readings. The resulting combination here is guaranteed to be unique and, at times, surprising.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/8/2005
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • UPC: 028947752318
  • Catalog Number: 000390202
  • Sales rank: 58,878

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 1. Moderato - Più vivo - Allegro - Maestoso. (Alla marcia) - Moderato (11:44)
  2. 2 2. Adagio sostenuto (12:27)
  3. 3 3. Allegro scherzando - Moderato - Allegro scherzando - Presto - Modera (12:20)
  4. 4 Introduction. Allegro vivace (0:08)
  5. 5 Variation I (Precedente) (0:20)
  6. 6 Tema. L'istesso tempo (0:20)
  7. 7 Variation II. L'istesso tempo (0:20)
  8. 8 Variation III. L'istesso tempo (0:26)
  9. 9 Variation IV. Più vivo (0:29)
  10. 10 Variation V. Tempo precedente (0:30)
  11. 11 Variation VI. L'istesso tempo (1:07)
  12. 12 Variation VII. Meno mosso, a tempo moderato (1:12)
  13. 13 Variation VIII. Tempo I (0:35)
  14. 14 Variation IX. L'istesso tempo (0:32)
  15. 15 Variation X (0:56)
  16. 16 Variation XI. Moderato (1:44)
  17. 17 Variation XII. Tempo di Minuetto (1:13)
  18. 18 Variation XIII. Allegro (0:28)
  19. 19 Variation XIV. L'istesso tempo (0:43)
  20. 20 Variation XV. Più vivo. Scherzando (1:10)
  21. 21 Variation XVI. Allegretto (1:30)
  22. 22 Variation XVII (1:58)
  23. 23 Variation XVIII. Andante cantabile (2:48)
  24. 24 Variation XIX. L'istesso tempo (0:26)
  25. 25 Variation XX. Un poco più vivo (0:35)
  26. 26 Variation XXI. Un poco più vivo (0:25)
  27. 27 Variation XXII. Un poco più vivo (alla breve) (1:39)
  28. 28 Variation XXIII. L'istesso tempo (0:51)
  29. 29 Variation XXIV. A tempo un poco meno mosso (1:22)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Lang Lang Primary Artist, Piano
Valery Gergiev Conductor
Mariinsky (Kirov) Theater Orchestra Performing Ensemble
Technical Credits
Kenneth Chalmers Liner Notes
Christian Gansch Producer
Fred Munzmaier Art Direction
Wolf-Dieter Karwatky Engineer
Jügen Bulgrin Engineer
David Butler Cannata Liner Notes
Martin Engstrom Executive Producer
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Brilliant non-traditional portrayal of Rachmaninoff's 2nd

    If you are looking for a traditional, note-for-note rendition of Rachmaninoff's 2nd piano concerto this is not the CD for you. However, if you are willing to broaden your horizons, move away from the preset sound of the piece in your mind, and be willing to enjoy something new, this CD is perfect. Lang Lang plays the piece with an unparalleled youthful exuberance, with increased fluctuations of the tempo and variations in the rhythm. All in all, the tempo is faster, allowing for his virtuosity to show to an even greater degree in an already devilishly challenging piece. Enjoy being carried away on a fantastic journey of twists and turns and be wowed by the virtuosity that only Lang Lang can bring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Brilliant combo

    Lang Lang and Valery Gergiev aren't the only great combination on this recording. Rachmaninoff's two greatest piano concertoes, No. 2 and Rhapsody on Paganini, are one of the best value pairings you'll find. Lang Lang plays with grace, elegance, outstanding technique, and his usual flair for extremely difficult passages. Gergiev's conducting is also outstanding, and the orchestra does a phenomenal job supporting Lang Lang.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews