Jorge Luis Prats / Enrique Bátiz

Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3

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Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3 Review

by Mike D. Brownell

Despite the renown and exceptional musical leadership of conductor Enrique Bátiz, this recording of Rachmaninov's Second and Third piano concertos is sadly not an acceptable choice for either of the works. Bátiz does everything in his power to follow the soloist, pianist Jorge Luis Prats, but when it comes down to it, Prats leads conductor and orchestra alike down paths that should not be taken with Rachmaninov. From the very first notes of the Second Concerto, it is obvious that Prats is all about speed and showing off. The entire first movement, marked Moderato, is a race to see just how fast the pianist can push the noble and sentimental work. The result is playing that is filled with sloppy passagework, fists full of wrong notes in chords, and absolutely no sense of rubato. The second movement is more sedate only because the orchestra, whose individual solos are quite well executed, takes the lead more often than the piano. But by the third movement, the race continues, as does the unacceptably inaccurate and unmusical playing. The Third Concerto is no different; Prats again seems to focus on showing off by use of speed but instead succeeds only in glossing over the musical foundation of the works. The recorded sound of the piano is also quite unsatisfactory -- very heavy on the treble end, little sustain, and no bloom to the sound. Many preferable recordings of these two concertos exist, and listeners are advised to go with one of them.

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