Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 - Lazić, Petrenko

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 - Lazić, Petrenko

Channel Classics  CCS SA 26308

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid


Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor Op. 18, Moments Musicaux Op. 16

Dejan Lazić (piano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Kirill Petrenko (conductor)

Although they were separated due to a period of creative despair which interrupted his work, both the second Piano Concerto and the Moments Musicaux date from Rachmaninov’s early period, during which he was active primarily as a composer rather than a pianist. This explains the character of the second Piano Concerto, which partakes of both chamber music and symphony, despite the dazzling virtuosity of the solo piano part.

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DSD recording
Reviews (1)

Review by John Broggio - January 5, 2009

A curious release.

The concerto is the main work here, given top billing in the order of play and Channel Classics have managed a most marvellous sound from the refurbished Royal Festival Hall, London - so far away from the desiccated sound that was all too prevalent in the days of old; Channel Classics have thrown down a real gauntlet to all others who will place microphones in this acoustic. The London Philharmonic Orchestra play with real style and passion under Kirill Petrenko, on his SACD début, with a real sense of touching eloquence from the clarinet in the slow movement. Sadly, in this work, Lazic sounds as though he is trying too hard to find something new to say or a new way to play the same phrases. The incongruity between the LPO/Petrenko and Lazic at the great thematic climax of the first movement is a strange affair; the dry attack from Lazic sits ill at ease with the surging, openly Romantic strings. Still for the most part, they are more or less in agreement of approach and little else stands out as grotesquely as that mentioned but there is little to commend this account above other classics of the catalogue (not least Rachmaninov's own accounts). As noted in the discussion, the applause from the live audience is retained (and would be impossible to excise without a retake of the final bars) - for the most part the audience is remarkably well restrained but there are odd "interpolations" in the quietest moments that might irk some listeners on repetition. As a listener, it is seriously tempting to purchase tickets to view Petrenko with the LPO and one hopes that some other performances of theirs might find their way onto SACD - they promise to be a very exciting partnership indeed.

The Moments Musicaux are fortunately another matter entirely and is worth the price of the disc by itself. In the studio, Lazic gains the freedom of expression that eluded him for a large part of the concerto and the results are stunning. Taking care with the score, the slower pieces such as the opening Andantino, the Andante cantabile (which really does sing in Lazic's hands) and the Adagio sostenuto are given an eloquence that is most moving. Throughout, Lazic plays with an improvisatory feeling that still reveals that he fully has the measure of the music. The virtuosity in the faster movements, especially the Presto (with it's overt nods towards Beethoven's first sonata finale) and the concluding Maestoso are dizzying if one tries to follow with a score. The only comparison that comes to mind on SACD is that of Sudbin's marvellous recital on BIS (and that is high praise). Added to which, unlike many pianists in this repertoire, Lazic manages to produce a pianissimo at will when others cannot reduce their dynamic below mezzo-piano at such speeds of articulation. Wonderful stuff.

The recording, despite coming from two very different venues, is consistently well imaged and purveys a very wide dynamic range which few pianists are granted and of which is then taken advantage.

Recommended for the Moments Musicaux very highly indeed (5 stars) and despite the reservations outlined above, the concerto performance (3-3.5 stars) would not disgrace the library of most listeners.

Copyright © 2009 John Broggio and


Sonics (Multichannel):

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