A Window in Time: Rachmaninoff Performs His Solo Piano Works
All tracks composed by Sergey Rachmaninov and recorded by Sergey Rachmaninov on piano rolls.
1 Morceaux de fantaisie (5), for piano, Op. 3 No 2, Prelude
2 Lilacs, song for voice & piano, Op. 21/5
3 Transcription of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" from "The Tale of the Tsar Saltan" for piano, TN iii/9
4 Morceaux de fantaisie (5), for piano, Op. 3 No 1, Elegie
5 Morceaux de salon, for piano, Op. 10 No 3, Barcarolle
6 Transcription of Kreisler's "Liebesfreud" for piano, TNiii/5
7 Transcription of Kreisler's "Liebesleid" for piano, TN iii/5
8 Morceaux de fantaisie (5), for piano, Op. 3 No 3, Melodie
9 Etudes-Tableaux, for piano, Op. 39 No 4 in B minor
10 Transcription of Schubert's "Wohin?" from "Die Schone Mullerin" for piano, TN iii/10
11 Morceaux de fantaisie (5), for piano, Op. 3 No 4, Polichinelle
12 Polka W.R., for piano in A flat major, TN ii/18
13 Prelude for piano No.6 in G minor, Op. 23/5
14 Morceaux de fantaisie (5), for piano, Op. 3 No 5, Serenade
15 Transcription of Bizet's "Minuet" from "L'Arlesienne-Suite No 1" for piano, TN iii/3
16 Transcription of Mussorgsky's "Hopak" from opera "Sorochintsy Fair" for piano (also for piano & vioin), TN iii/8
17 Etudes-Tableaux, for piano, Op. 39 No 6 in A minor
18 Morceaux de salon, for piano, Op. 10 No 5, Humoresque
19 Transcription of Smith's "The Star-Spangled Banner" for piano, TN iii/11
This collection of Rachmaninoff's solo piano performances relies on a mix of old and new technologies. Between 1919 and 1929, Rachmaninoff cut these 19 performances to piano rolls, which would then be played back through reproducing pianos capable of accurately re-creating the original performances through pneumatic devices that animated the rolls with living nuances and shades - a facet that differentiated the classier reproduction keyboards from the more common "player pianos."
This set updates the technology with electronic devices - transparently, though expertly, replacing the pneumatics. Played back on a Bosendorfer Reproducing Piano, this collection sounds astounding, full of Rachmaninoff's lickety-quick motion and his punching intensity when striking the keys.
There are 18 Rachmaninoff selections - some of them collaborations - and one gem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," taken to new places in this 1919 reading. --Andrew Bartlett