When it comes to top tier piano concertos, we are spoiled for choices. I could spend the rest of my life listening to piano concertos only and would have no regrets whatsoever. The challenge is to choose which single one, among the hundreds that are available in very good recorded sound, to take with me on my monthlong retreat atop Mount Kikuba.
This great work by Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninov (1873-1943), a Russian composer and pianist, ranks among my top 10 choices. Rachmaninov’s own performance of this work is beautiful. The sound, of course does not present the work in its full grandeur. However, to hear the composer playing his own work adds a special “something” to the aural experience.
Of the modern performances, this one by Anna Federova is now high on my list of favourites. As always, the Second Movement takes me to a a joyful zone that hovers near a tear-inducing solitude as I think of loved ones.
Now listen to Helene Grimaud’s performance at a slower tempo. A beautiful performance in every way. Her second Movement is almost beautifully unbearable. Classic.
And now, Evgeny Kissin………..just listen to him.
But of course, Arthur Rubinstein’s performance in 1956 is in a class of its own. Listen….