Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Sergei Rachmaninov - Piano Concertos No.2 & No.3

No fancy-pants titles here, just a clearly-labelled tin from one of the great composers (and one of the greatest pianists the world has ever seen). These pieces come from classical's late Romantic era - right at the turn of the century; so it's like armies of butterflies waging war in your gut, with the benefit of centuries of musical development and compositional trends. The perfect access point into classical music if ever there was any.

It's not my intention to patronise in the slightest, but here is the wikipedia definition of 'concerto' if you can't quite put your finger on it:
The term Concerto (from the Italian: concerto, plural concerti or the anglicised form concertos) usually refers to a three-part musical work in which one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra.

This recording is performed by Bernd Glemser and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. But don't worry if that sounds dodgy, this is from the Naxos label, which always comes up trumps with a no-nonsense approach, it's like the industry standard.
Rachmaninov completed No.2 in 1900, No.3 about a decade later:

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18
Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30

('Op.' stands for 'opus', or 'work')

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