Nikolai Lugansky

Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos 1-4; Paganini Variations; Etc.

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Strongly virtuosic, warmly expressive, and brilliantly colorful, Nikolai Lugansky's performances of Rachmaninov's Four Piano Concertos plus his Paganini Rhapsody and Chopin and Corelli Variations are fine as far as they go. But they go no further than virtuosic, expressive, and colorful. As brilliant as his playing is -- and Lugansky sails through the hardest passages of the hardest pages of the hardest fin de siècle Russian piano composer's music with the greatest of ease -- as expressive as his playing is -- and Lugansky understands every accent, every dynamic, and every phrase marking with complete sympathy -- and as colorful as his playing is -- and Lugansky illuminates every shade from pensive blue to passionate red in Rachmaninov's piano writing -- Lugansky's playing doesn't say much about the content of the music, and why, aside from the fact that it's virtuosic, expressive, and colorful, it should be performed. The musical depth and emotional power of Rachmaninov's concertos are missing here, and what remains, while extremely impressive technically, is musically and emotionally disappointing. Sakari Oramo and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra provide Lugansky with polished and professional accompaniments and Warner Classics provides him with smooth and clear sound.

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Introduction and 24 Variations), for piano & orchestra in A minor, Op. 43
1 00:29
2 03:02
3 01:10
4 01:05
5 00:51
6 01:20
7 01:30
8 02:19
9 03:22
10 02:48
11 03:23
12 02:11
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, for piano, Op. 42
13 01:06
14 01:13
15 00:41
16 01:07
17 01:09
18 01:03
19 02:55
20 04:55
21 01:36
22 03:46
Variations on a Theme of Chopin, for piano, Op. 22
23 01:22
24 04:10
25 01:34
26 01:31
27 02:34
28 01:30
29 03:37
30 02:48
31 01:01
32 02:18
33 02:58
34 04:54
blue highlight denotes track pick