One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Nothing but Praise

BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set

Telemann continues to amaze

A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition

Another Bacewicz winner

match any I’ve heard

An outstanding centenary collection

personable, tuneful, approachable

a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.

music that will be new to most people

telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded

hitherto unrecorded Latvian music


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Symphonic Dances for two pianos, Op. 45 (1940) (arr. Rachmaninov) [32.51]
Suite No. 1 in G minor for two pianos, Op. 5 (1893) [23.34]
Suite No. 2 for two pianos, Op. 17 (1900/01) [22.06]
Six Duets for piano four hands, Op. 11 (1894) [24.19]
Romance in A major for piano six hands (1891) [4.36]
Waltz in A major for piano six hands (1890) [1.59]
Russian Rhapsody in E minor for two pianos in E minor (1891) [9.02]
Martha Argerich (piano) with:
Nelson Goerner, Lilya Zilberstein (Opp. 5, 11, Romance and Russian Rhapsody), Gabriela Montero (op. 17), Daniel Gerzenberg, Anton Gerzenberg (Romance), Alexander Mogilevsky (Russian Rhapsody).
rec. live, Auditorio Stelio Molo, 2003-09.
WARNER CLASSICS 2564 623594 [78:40 + 40:04]

This excellent collection comes with a minor caveat, since almost all of these recordings have appeared previously as part of Martha Argerich’s ‘Live at Lugano’ series. Having such a collection of such glorious recordings of Rachmaninov’s multiple-piano/multiple-pianist works together in one place may appeal even if you do have all or some of these desirable Lugano box sets lying around. However, you may want to check the contents before acquiring this set. Argerich has also recorded some of this repertoire elsewhere, for instance in a magnificent recording with Alexandre Rabinovich on Teldec, the Symphonic Dances and Second Suite in particular, but I find myself preferring the spontaneity of the live versions in this collection. Further self-competition in this work comes in the form of a Deutsche Grammophon recording in which Martha Argerich is joined by Nicolas Economou (review), but even with its many qualities this again lacks the excitement, drive and electric synergy of the live version.

Michael Cookson’s comments on this release are a very good summary of the content and qualities of this compilation. The unique ‘heft’ of two pianos and the musical synergy between players is an inspiration throughout, and if you relish Rachmaninov’s way of creating colour and sonority with the piano as well as his harmonic and melodic idiom then this is a place to bathe in a seascape of marvels. The freshly-minted feel to the performances adds a sheen of uniqueness which is hard to beat in any context. The Symphonic Dances is, as mentioned, a work with which Argerich has been associated before, and her performance here – one of the works which is a new release – with Nelson Goerner is both dramatic and full of subtleties. You can sense the synergy of the two musicians, echoing each other’s little variations and inflections and relishing rhythmic oneness. The same is true of both Suites, and if you don’t sit entranced at the Romance in the Second Suite or agape at the daring repetitions and Russian clamour of bells in the Pâques of the First Suite then alas I fear we may have to part company.

CD 2 is also a source of tremendous pleasures. The 6 Duets have some of Rachmaninov’s best music, and Argerich’s work with Lilya Zilberstein is terrific, here as it is in the First Suite. Just listen to that final Slava (Gloria), and dry your eyes with the Romance and Waltz in A, played by Zilberstein and the Gerzenbergs with magnificent élan. The final Russian Rhapsody doesn’t have Martha Argerich as a player, but Lilya Zilberstein and Alexander Mogilevsky are however very much worth hearing in their virtuoso clarity and sense of heady Russian movement and style.

Dominy Clements

Previous review: Michael Cookson