The pairing of Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski and Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko in Rachmaninov's concertos has been the talk of Britain, thanks to some Proms performances that ride the razor's edge of the composer's fabled technical demands. Those looking for an introduction might try instead their release with the more popular Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, and Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30; the two outer concertos by and large lack the big melodies that have made the second and third concertos such perennial favorites. In the Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1, the 19-year-old Rachmaninov was a young composer determined to make some noise; although he later revised the work, its youthful quality remained. The piece is full of backbreaking passagework. Trpceski never flags anywhere on the disc, which is an accomplishment in itself, but some may miss a bit of the free tempo and sentiment that make a Rachmaninov performance tick. This is especially true in the concluding Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43, a work that's more popular than either of the two concertos. But there's plenty of sheer pulse-pounding excitement here, and at the very least this release signals a young virtuoso to watch, or perhaps two, for Petrenko's handling of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is confidently expressive.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1|
|Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40|
|Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43|