The piano dominated Rachmaninoff’s creative thinking from the start. Even his four early piano pieces of 1887 reveal the extraordinary sense of kinship he felt with the instrument. However, these enchanting early offerings were outclassed by his first piece to evoke the brooding passion that would remain a powerful force in his music for decades to come: the Prelude in C sharp minor. This became one of five Morceaux de fantaisie which attracted the praise of Tchaikovsky, and the composer, while often suffering painful bouts of self-doubt, was rarely unable to turn out the kind of salon pieces that enjoyed a ready audience.
However, he soon had higher ambitions in mind, emulating Chopin (and before him)Bach by composing the sequence of Op.23 Preludes in the early years of the 20th century, and following it with two sonatas which demanded the prodigious technique that almost he alone of contemporary performers could marshal. The Op 32 Preludes date from a Schumann-esque 18-day burst of creativity, but they distil Rachmaninoff’s pianistic imagination at its most diverse, completing the cycle. His compositional voice is darker and still more introspective in the sequences of Etudes-tableaux, which forsake the free and lyrical vein of his earlier music for a disciplined austerity that would reach a climax in his large-scale Symphonic Dances and The Bells, though finding a more fantastical outlet in the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
Thus the set presents a guide to the life and the voice of one of Russia’s most dominant and individual musical voices. Compiled from recordings made during the last ten years, it features young artists such as Lukas Geniušas and Zlata Chochieva who have gone on to achieve deserved fame as mature artists. There are also recordings by more experienced artists such as Nils Franke and the duo of Ingryd Thorson & Julian Thurber. Among the most complete of all the ‘complete’ solo piano sets on the market, Brilliant’s box is, as ever, a bargain second to none.
· This 8-CD set contains the works for piano solo by Sergei Rachmaninoff, 20-th century romantic, one of the greatest pianists of all time himself. In his iconic piano works he expresses his deepest personal emotions, from ecstatic joy and tolling of bells, to Slavic melancholy and utter tragedy. Many of his works became standard concert repertoire: the 24 Preludes, the Etudes-tableaux, the Moments Musicaux, the two Piano Sonatas and the two Variations sets on themes by Corelli and Chopin.
· This set brings together recordings by several of the best pianists of the younger generation: Alexander Gavrylyuk, Zlata Chochieva, Lukas Geniušas, Alexander Ghindin and Elisa Tomellini, all sharing their deep love and affinity for the Russian master. Also included are superb recordings by Santiago Rodriguez, one of the most idiomatic Rachmaninoff pianists of the 20th century.
· The set presents additionally the complete works for piano duet and 2 pianos: the famous Suites Op. 5 and 17, the popular Symphonic Dances and several other rarities.
· The press has been enthusiastic about these recordings:
· “ Chochieva has a superb capacity for holding Rachmaninov’s cantabile line aloft effortlessly, allowing it to take flight.”(Gramophone), “Chochieva is the possessor of a comprehensive technique who brings an inner glow to every bar. Her playing is indelibly Russian in its fullness and warmth, backed by a dauntless and easy command” Gramophone.
· GAVRYLYUK: “Sunk in deep-dyed, all-Russian melancholy…magisterial command…soaring ease and lyricism” Gramophone, CHOC de Classica (France)
· GENIUSAS: “Energy, virtuosity and a deep poetic feeling (Spiegel Kultur), “You are left to wonder at his blaze of youthful virtuosity and aplomb” Gramophone.