Garrick Ohlsson / Robert Spano

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 3; Symphonic Dances

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Garrick Ohlsson is much better known for his elegant recordings of the piano music of Frédéric Chopin than he is for his forays into Russian music, but this 2011 release of Sergey Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor shows that he brings the same kind of polish and depth of expression to this monumental post-Romantic showpiece. From the opening octaves of his entrance, Ohlsson plays with smooth, melodic connectedness, and his singing tone carries the work's long lines effectively, if somewhat introspectively. Yet Ohlsson also displays an incisive attack in the more aggressive sections that provides a welcome contrast to the nearly private lyricism and shows off his considerable physical prowess. Ohlsson has never recorded the Piano Concerto No. 3, but this performance gave him a chance to approach the music without preconceptions and an opportunity to work with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in an appealingly spontaneous and insightful manner. Spano and the ASO also perform Rachmaninov's final work, the Symphonic Dances, a piece the orchestra knows intimately from many performances. The two works make a balanced program of Rachmaninov's music at its finest, and the performances are captured with clear Direct Stream Digital sound and a warm ambience.

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