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Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Piano concerto No.3 in D minor Op.30 (1909)
The Isle of the Dead – Symphonic poem Op.29 (1909)
Andreas Jetter (piano)
Philharmonia Moldova/Dietrich Schöller-Manno
Recorded at the Concert Hall of Iasi State Philharmonic, Romania, September, 1997 (Concerto) and February, 1999 (The Isle of the Dead)
ANTES EDITION BM CD 31.9203 [65.26]

These are live recordings made by Antes in the Concert Hall of Iasi State Philharmonic in Romania and date from 1997 and 1999. The recording is not ideal; rather cold and inclined to emphasise or exaggerate a fault of Jetter’s in the concerto, which is excessive banging. For a German pianist who has studied extensively in Moscow I have to say I found his point of view hard to reconcile and some details struck me as overly exaggerated; in this of all concertos a degree of control is preferable to point-making. As I said Jetter seems to be forcing his tone and his piano doesn’t sound entirely happy either, getting slightly out of tune as the concerto develops. His technique however is formidable – hardly any dropped notes. But what concerned me were the odd accents, the unsubtle rhythms, the very slow cadenza and his generally erratic treatment of the movement as a whole; he seems to want to take Horowitz’s externals without having digested his implacable control in this work. The strings aren’t opulent in the slow movement and in the finale we get some staccato, rather military clipped playing from the pianist. Winds are distant; the studio engineers seem to tweak dynamic levels in the first movement rather too abruptly.

The coupling doesn’t benefit from the close-up acoustic perspective, which tends to limit its visceral power. The contours here are better drawn but the orchestra isn’t in the first rank and can’t colour or point with the kind of drama that will be expected.

Jonathan Woolf

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