Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sergei Prokofiev
Performer: Mikhail Pletnev – piano
Orchestra: Russian National Orchestra
Conductor: Mstislav Rostropovich
Number of Discs: 2 SACD-R
Bit Depth: 64 (2.8 MHz/1 Bit)
Number of channels: 5.0, 2.0
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 5.03 GB
Rachmaninoff & Prokofiev: Piano Concertos No. 3
Disc: 1 (Rachmaninoff)
01. Allegro ma non tanto
02. Intermezzo (Adagio)
03. Finale (Alla breve)
Disc: 2 (Prokofiev)
01. Andante – Allegro
02. Tema con variazione
03. Allegro ma non troppo
Mikhail Pletnev plays the Third Piano Concerti of Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev, accompanied by the Russian National Orchestra led by Mikhail Rostropovich (who had a close association with Prokoviev).
Review from Classical CD Review
Mikhail Pletnev already has to his credit superb recordings of all of Tchaikovky’s concerted works so it comes as no surprise that he excels in these Thirds of Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev. Both are given magnificent interpretations with vivid accompaniments from the Russian National Orchestra directed by Rostropovich. These are solid, imaginative readings in every way—treatment of the exquisite rhapsodic central interlude in the Prokofiev’s finale is as melting as I’ve ever heard. Apparently these performances did not originate from live concert performances—CD notes describe the recording sessions which took place in late evening/early morning during September 2002 in the Great Hall of Mosow Conservatory. Pletnev plays the more elaborate first movement cadenza of the Rachmaninoff (making a very slight cut in it; he also makes a minor cut in the finale). From a SACD surround standpoint this is one of DGG’s most successful accomplishments. Performers are in front, with a solid piano tone, rich orchestral textures and a wide dynamic range. Rear speakers are effectively used for ambient sound. For whatever reason, two separate disks are used, rather odd as both concertos would have fit on one, as they did on the standard CD version.
Review from John Sunier at Audiophile Audition
Rostropovich is the only living dedicatee of a Prokofiev masterpiece (The Sinfonia Concertante for cello and orchestra). Prokofiev was his friend and he finds more lyrical and romantic in his music than do most conductors. Rostropovich seeks in this coupling to explore the Russian soul as displayed in these two very different composers. (Looking at the timings one wonders why DGG didn’t just put both concertos on a single disc at 72 minutes?) The sample rate for the original PCM recordings was 48K/24bit.
Both concertos are superb and thrilling works and probably the best of each composer’s series of piano concertos. Both have also been recorded by their respective composers. But neither had available anything like the sonic picture these multichannel SACDs can transmit to listeners today. The Rachmaninoff 3rd has some serious competition from Volodos’ stereo-only SACD on Sony Classical with James Levine. Volodos brings a bit more drama to his interpretation and the piano sound is more distinctly set apart from the orchestra than in the Pletnev discs, but the surround option gives the newer version a more involving aspect. The Prokofiev concerto is well-played and recorded. Rostropovich does not rush tempi as a conductor, he allows the lyrical movements especially to sing.