Lev Oborin / Sviatoslav Richter / Yakov Zak

Rachmaninov: Complete Piano Concertos; Paganini Rhapsody

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AllMusic Review by

It's a wonderful treat to find an album whose interest rests equally on its musical as well as historical merits. As such, the present two-disc sets of the complete Rachmaninoff concertos and Paganini Rhapsody cannot be beat. The three pianists heard here -- Richter, Zak, and Oborin -- represent the pinnacle of postwar Russian pianists. Richter is most likely the one still known to the majority of American listeners. But Zak (who was immensely influential not only as a performer but as a pedagogue) and Oborin (who was the first winner of the Chopin Competition) were recognized equally during their lifetimes. All three had a profound and obvious command of Rachmaninoff, and the performances heard here clearly demonstrate this fact. Despite the bravura of the works, Richter, Zak, and Oborin deliver brilliantly musical performances that transcend sheer technical demands. Originally recorded between 1947 and 1955, the remastering heard on this set is quite good. The piano is consistently clear, even in the busiest passages. The orchestras or similarly well-recorded, though they sometimes produce slightly more sound than the microphones at the time could handle. Clearly written, in-depth, and historically informative liner notes put the cherry on top of this very worthwhile collection from our musical past.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1
1 12:35
2 06:20
3 07:50
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40
4 09:45
5 06:52
6 09:30
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Introduction and 24 Variations), for piano & orchestra in A minor, Op. 43
7 00:11
8 00:19
9 00:18
10 00:18
11 00:23
12 00:28
13 00:29
14 00:57
15 00:52
16 00:32
17 00:31
18 00:47
19 01:24
20 01:09
21 00:29
22 00:42
23 01:01
24 01:32
25 01:20
26 02:33
27 00:25
28 00:33
29 00:25
30 01:33
31 00:50
32 01:11
blue highlight denotes track pick