A glance at the Danacord website and catalogue
will confirm that Marshev, who has already recorded the complete Prokofiev
concertos for Jesper Buhl's label, is out to record a large slice of
the neo-romantic repertoire. Just look at pages 16 and 17 of the booklet.
Marshev has recorded the solo piano music of Emil von Sauer, Prokofiev,
Pavel Pabst, and Richard Strauss. Quite apart from the Prokofiev there
are piano concertos by Langgaard (Siegfried and Rued), Winding, Hartmann,
Bendix, Schytte, Tchaikovsky (complete) , Shostakovich (complete) and
The recording balance chosen by Danacord is big and
bullish with the piano set unashamedly several feet in front of the
orchestra. It reminded me of the old EMI Alexis Weissenberg recording
of Tchaikovsky's First Concerto and the Decca Postnikova recording of
the same work with the VSO and her husband Rozhdestvensky.
Marshev and Loughran take things with broad deliberation
and emphasis as in the ‘clippity-clop’ Borodin-shadowed moments towards
the end of the last movement of the First Concerto (6.34). Marshev really
wallops the keyboard in the wide and woolly opening of the Second Concerto.
Everything is contrived to bring out the weightiness of the music. This
will not be for those who like their Rachmaninov fast, headstrong and
mercurial. Marshev's is a big, romantic and muscular approach. Repose
there is in plenty as in the romantic second movement of the Second
Concerto. He is not so languid that he defuses the dramatics of the
Allegro scherzando of No. 2 and it really works stunningly.
I have not stop-watched these times but taking the
insert figures which usually include some silences we can make some
Marshev Composer Wild
1 28.50 24.33 24.10
2 36.22 32.17 30.23
3 45.42 34.02 35.18
4 28.09 24.14 22.57
Marshev’s and Loughran’s are statuesque interpretations
in which the artists take their time. In the Rhapsody Marshev
takes a full six minutes longer than Earl Wild (Chandos) and four minutes
longer than the composer. Even allowing for the long original cadenza
in the Third Marshev is very extended - even more so than Alicia de
Larrocha whose Decca version ran to over 44.49 minutes. This takes idiosyncrasy
out to the furthest reaches. Things self-centre at the wondrous pay-off
at 13.19 - the stretching and glowing peak of the finale of the Third.
Yes this reading can drift into the ponderous at times but there are
grand rewards in the making of world enough and time to let Rachmaninov's
music really tell.
The third disc has reminded me to pay tribute to the
Danacord recording team of Lennart Dehn and Torbjörn Samuelsson
who light the playing brightly but render with fidelity the silky violin
tone of the Aarhus orchestra and the hammer-bass register of the piano.
A lovely conjuring altogether. Try sampling the final movement of the
Fourth Concerto. The last few bars illustrate the resilient precision
of the coordination between orchestra and soloist - not to be taken
The notes, which ideally complement the recordings,
are by Classical Music on the Web regular, Chris Howell.
The set has a very long playing time so much so that
a third CD is required. However the standard 2 CD price is retained.
It is typical of Danacord's unselfish orientation that
in the Aarhus orchestra discography at p.21 of the booklet they list
product from DaCapo, Marco Polo, Kontrapunkt, ASV, Bis, Point and Olympia.
Jesper Buhl is also to be praised for his judicious
use of silences between tracks. Some manufacturers are pretty abstemious
in this respect and a rapid transition from movement to movement is
Summing up: not a first choice unless you know already
that your tastes run to the epic rather than immediacy, drive and pulsation.
If you want the rush of adrenalin then go direct to Chandos CHAN 7114(2)
and Earl Wild. Those recordings still sound excellent. If you would
like a grandly expansive approach favouring the epic then look no further
than the Danacord set.
Note from Danacord
It may interest you to know that James Loughran followed
the original metronome markings in the scores! So Rachmaninov himself
was under pressure (the 78 rpm playing time) when he recorded the concertos.
Hopefully you also noted the wealth of orchestral details, something
you do not normally hear in these concertos. And yes, - it is epic,
- and Thank God for that!
Jesper Buhl, Danacord