Edward J. Blakely, Nancey Green Leigh
This recording of the First and Fourth Piano Concertos completes Boris Giltburg's recordings of Rachmaninov's piano concertos. Rachmaninov's First Piano Concerto was composed while he was a student at the Moscow Conservatoire, then fully reworked before he left Russia in 1917 and again in 1919. It is hard to explain why it never achieved a higher level of popularity - it has all of the melodic beauty, passion and brilliance found throughout the composer's music. The Fourth Piano Concerto was much revised after harsh criticism at its premiere but it occupies a unique place in Rachmaninov's oeuvre, showing a progression from lush Romanticism towards the muscular transparency of his later works. The electrifying Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is a concerto in all but name - the work's sense of fun and demonic bravura has ensured its place among the most-loved and often performed works for piano and orchestra.
1-3. Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1 (1890-91, final rev. version1919) - 28:25
4-29. Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43 (1934) - 24:46
30-32. Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40 (1926, second rev. version 1941) - 26:47