MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around   2022
 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount


Support us financially by purchasing this from
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor (1900-01) [34.30]
Symphonic Dances (1940) [34.58]
Etude-tableau, Op. 39 No. 2 in A minor (1916-17) [7.34]
Prelude, Op. 32, No. 12 in G sharp minor (1910) [3.46]
Nikolaï RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
Scheherazade (1888) [45.44]
Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Salut d’amour (1888) [3.36]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
Overture: La Forza del destino (1861-2) [8.31]
Denis Matsuev (piano)
St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra/Yuri Temirkanov
rec. Annecy, France, Classic Festival 2013
NTSC worldwide 16.9 PCM stereo
IDÉALE AUDIENCE DVD 2075068 [150:00]

This DVD provides an ideal opportunity to study more closely Rachmaninov’s exquisite final composition, his Symphonic Dances. What a masterly work this is with its shifting harmonies, its rhythmic vitality, its brilliant effervescent colours and beautiful melodies - and such imaginative orchestration. The cameras — with one exception in covering the percussion’s contribution — show just how well he wrote for his large orchestra particularly the woodwinds that practically sing non-stop throughout. One notices the contributions of the alto saxophone in the long winding solo in the first movement (‘Noon’) and a little later on, in the same movement, the supporting role of the piano below the lush string tune.
Temirkanov’s reading of the Symphonic Dances is crisp and arresting; his second movement (‘Twilight’) waltz lilts beguilingly and his third (‘Midnight’) is suitably spectral although I would have liked more excitement in its coda, and it’s a great pity that the cameras did not cover the work of the percussionists more fully.
Denis Matsuev’s Rachmaninov intrigues. By sheer coincidence I saw the TV broadcast from the London Proms of him playing this same concerto to pretty rapturous applause. His view of it is rather unusual but not without emotional charge. His beginning suggests such, those portentous opening chords emphasised more, taken more slowly, more deliberately. Enough said ... and more than enough has been said already about this immensely popular piano concerto.
More interestingly, perhaps, is that the concerto is followed by two Rachmaninov instrumental pieces: the short Prelude No. 12 in G sharp minor and the Étude-tableau Op. 39 No. 2 in A minor. Rachmaninov did not disclose what pictorial imagery he had in mind when composing this latter piece. The Italian composer Respighi was to orchestrate the piece in 1931 and Rachmaninov told him that his wife had suggested that the piece might depict the sea and seagulls. Whatever imagery, Matsuev gives a spellbinding performance of this beautiful, charismatic work.
The Rimsky-Korsakov piece is another confirmed favourite and needs no comment from me. This is a splendid performance, strong and exciting especially in the finale where the ship breaks against a cliff; and tender and sensual in ‘The Young Prince and Princess’ movement. The short Elgar piece is lush enough but the bonus Verdi overture for me lacked excitement. Temirkanov conducts idiosyncratically using his hands with no baton and minimal facial expression.
For the most part a popular Late Romantic music programme delivered with spirit.
Ian Lace
Masterwork Index: Rachmaninov piano concerto 2 ~~ Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade