Fragments; Prelude op. posth.; Zdes’ khorosho (It Is Lovely Here) op.21
no.7; Vocalise – Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano – Decca multichannel SACD475
Ashkenazy has recorded Rachmaninoff before, including a fine discing of
the four piano concertos. In this program he has chosen some of the
piano solo miniatures which the composer began creating during his teen
years and continuing thruout his life. His Prelude in C sharp minor,
written in 1892, was published the following year and immediately
became a huge hit worldwide. It directed Rachmaninoff to continue
writing his Preludes and other miniatures.
Being a virtuoso pianist served the composer well in writing many of
these works, which were designed for his own performances. The rapid
non-stop 32nd notes in the last of the Op. 16 Moments musicaux was
obviously designed to bring the house down in applause at the work’s
conclusion. The five Op. 3 selections are less demonstrative, showing
Rachmaninoff’s bold style just beginning to assert itself. Both the
Fragments and posthumous Prelude date from 1917, and the final two
selections are Rachmaninoff songs which have been transcribed for solo
piano, closing with the familiar and unforgettable melody of the
The multichannel SACD was converted from original 48K PCM recordings,
as many recordings now are (though usually at a higher sampling rate).
In spite of this compromise the piano sound is rich and immediate;
clearly better than most standard CD piano recordings.
– John Sunier