There's no question about pianist Kateryna Titova's technique in her debut recital, and a good thing, too, since the program consists entirely of works by Rachmaninov, the composer of some of the most transcendentally difficult piano music of the fin de siècle. But no matter what the Russian composer asks for – be it the tumults of notes that open the Allegro agitato of his Second Piano Sonata, the ethereal ostinatos that start the Prélude in G minor, the monumental sonorities that fill the Prélude in C sharp minor, or the feathery arabesques that saturate the composer's transcription of Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee – the young Ukrainian-born, German-based pianist nails them all.
Martha Argerich’s long career has taken in many outstanding solo performances, but she has often professed to feeling ‘lonely’ on stage. This CD showcases the area in which she feels truly at home: her extensive and fruitful collaborations with other first-class musicians. Among the many younger pianists she has taken under her wing at her academy in Lugano are Lilya Zilberstein, who rose to fame in the 1990s and whose sparkling playing is also featured on this disc, as well as Nelson Goerner, whose collaboration with Argerich in Rachmaninov’s nostalgic Symphonic Dances is released here for the first time.
This new recording (recorded in 2012) brings together two great, but altogether different 20th century Cello Sonatas from Russia: the gorgeous and deeply romantic cello sonata by Rachmaninoff, of near‐symphonic proportions, and the cello sonata by Prokofiev, a hybrid piece of his later period, a fascinating mixture of the romantic, the grotesque and the introspective side of the multi-faceted composer.
Rachmaninov’s rarely heard, and unfinished opera, Monna Vanna is recorded here in a newer edition by Gennadi Belov and led by Vladimir Ashkenazy, an iconic artist and expert in Russian music. This recording of Monna Vanna is a world première recording of the sung Russian version – the language in which Rachmaninov originally intended the opera to be performed.
"…Wang's impeccable technique and tonal beauty certainly aid in pouring this old wine into a new bottle . . . the spins and gyrations become quite beguiling, while Abbado injects his own potent impetus into the mix. A disarming lovely set of Rachmaninov works, beautifully played and gorgeously recorded courtesy of engineer Stephan Flock." ~Audiophile Audition