Henri Sigfridsson / Stefan Solyom / SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra

Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3

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With nearly every new CD on the market claiming that at least one person on the album is the best and most amazing performer of his/her generation, the believability of these statements ranks right up there with those claiming there are magic little pills to help you lose 20 pounds over night. But in the case of Finnish pianist Henri Sigfridsson, there's actually something to it. The present album features Rachmaninov's Second and Third Piano Concertos -- not at all easy works with which to make an impression given that everyone and their uncle has recorded these works many times over. Right from the beginning, though, both Sigfridsson and Stuttgart Radio Orchestra grab the listener's attention and manage to keep it fairly consistent. Sigfridsson's approach to his instrument is an appealing blend of technical accuracy and musical conservatism. Rather than trying to make his mark by obscene alterations to the score through rubato, Sigfridsson lets the music speak for itself. Not until the second movement of the Second Concerto does he falter a bit with a slightly dragging tempo. The Third Concerto is also tastefully performed; the third movement in particular is quite sparkling and energetic. Balance with the orchestra is pleasant throughout and the overall sound quality of the recording is pleasing. Overall, Sigfridsson provides listeners with splendid renditions of these two warhorses of the repertoire.

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