This Rachmaninov recording ranks among the greats

This Rachmaninov recording ranks among the greats


norman lebrecht

September 23, 2018

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

Amid the excitement over a rediscovered rehearsal tape of the composer playing Symphonic Dances, there arrives a new account of two concertos with Rachmaninov’s favourite orchestra and the living pianist who most resembles him. Deutsche Grammophon has titled the album Destination Rachmaninov. Departure and furnished the cover with a portrait of the soloist, Daniil Trifonov, sitting in the kind of railway compartment that went out with shellac records. Do not be distracted by these marketing tricks….

Read on here.

And here.


  • Caravaggio says:

    I believe it. Very much looking forward to hearing this record with great anticipation, mainly for Trifonov and the Philadelphia (even if in doubt that their cultured, patrician sound of yore remains).

  • Olassus says:

    “Destination Rachmaninoff – Departure”

    What a [strange] title for an album. Catering to “new audiences,” one imagines.

    And DGG long ago could spell the composer’s name.

      • Robert Groen says:

        No disrespect, Olassus, but since when are you an expert on the proper English transliteration of Russian names? If so, what would you make of Trifonov? Or Gorbachov? Or my great friend Sergei Lavrov?
        That aside, Trifonov is a unique force of nature at the keyboard. I suggest doubters watch his performance of Beethoven’s op. 111 (available on YouTube). I was dumbstruck at the intensity and the mastery of his playing. At times it seemed as if he (Trifonov) had left the planet behind and was living in other spheres. Awesome! He’s also a composer in his own right. Check out his Piano Concerto (also on YouTube). Fascinating!.

        • Robert Groen says:

          Further to the strange title: Is it fanciful to expect the next issue of nrs 1 and 3 to be called “Destination Rachmaninov – Arrival”? Anyway, what’s in a name?

          • Olassus says:

            The issue of course is R’s own transliteration of his name.

            About the DG project, yes, I imagine there will be some other cute overlay idea nobody needs for the other releases. (Personally I don’t need “Under Stalin’s Shadow” tattooed on my Shostakovich albums, to the point of NOT BUYING such products. Et cetera.)

    • Brettermeier says:

      “And DGG long ago could spell the composer’s name.”

      That annoyed me, too. Fun fact: Am*zon doesn’t find the album when using “Rachmaninoff”.

      (All in all I do think it would simply things if only one translit. was used. Preferably not the English one, because it’s pretty bad. It’s the reason why so many people pronounce guys like Gorbachev wrong (It’s Gorbachyov). But hey, it’s an e with dots, so it has to be an e, right?)

  • Nelson says:

    The Marston release you mention is not from a tape. The original was 2 double sided acetates. It’s an important detail as there was no commercially available tape recorder (as opposed to experimental machines) prior to Rachmaninoff’s death.

  • Peter says:

    Little known fact: Rachmaninov was (secretly) a great supporter of UK’s heritage railways, and regularly composed while riding in a restored Mark 1 British Railways carriage with authentic under-seat heating controls.

  • Rosana Martins says:

    I heard it a couple of days ago and the recording is phenomenal. Trifonov at his best! Great poetry, lots of imagination and, of course, his amazing technique.

    • Olassus says:

      He’s wonderful in this rep. Hopefully one day he’ll understand Beethoven too — but I’m not holding my breath.

      • Robert Groen says:

        Understanding Beethoven? Not a clue what you’re on about. Are you a musician yourself? If so, how do you compare your understanding of Beethoven to Trifonov’s?

  • James Kreger says:

    Maestro Trifonov does indeed possess special qualities. While his pianism is superb, the qualities to which I refer go far beyond to the core of the music itself. It is as if he has a hotline to the composer Rachmaninoff himself. I refer to my previous comments about a live performance of Rachmaninoff’s Chopin Variations: Happy Birthday Sergei Rachmaninoff (April 1, 1873 – March 28, 1943)!
    Unfortunately, this performance is no longer available complete on YouTube. Nevertheless I would like to post my comments after hearing Daniil Trifonov’s stunning performance:
    Listening to this inspiring performance of Rachmaninoff’s Chopin Variations, Op. 22 by Daniil Trifonov is haunting and transporting. It brings back wonderful memories years ago when I turned pages for Jorge Bolet at his New York apartment, while he was preparing this music for his Decca recording. Trifonov’s conception is riveting. His touch is gentle, tender, yet powerful, even demonic, when the music dictates, in effect, the ultimate in pianism. In my opinion he unlocks the door of what this music is all about and takes us on a glorious journey right through the mirror to the other side where another universe of emotion exists beyond our furthest imagination. Together we have stepped through a time warp, where we sense and view a cosmos of emotion and color. Riding a magnificent, omnipotent wave we ultimately arrive at the epiphanic mansions of eternity. This grand, consummate artist safely returns us back to our present world at the end, yet our emotional and spiritual sensibilities now have expanded immensely to religious proportions. We have been changed forever. Bravo! великолепный!
    -James Kreger

    • Paul Davis says:

      It hurts to make a negative comment but i can’t let this pass. Trifonov has never been capable of playing the RachChopinVariations in public. I’ve heard him several times; skimped, sketchy, shallow sound, panic-stricken memory lapses, ugly cuts and’ worst of all, a criminal murder of the composer’s idea at the end, (substituting a reprise of the c-minor theme ‘cos he can’t play the C-major coda, a lame excuse). In any other “serious” profession he”d be prosecuted for fraud and imprisoned. But no, he can do No Wrong, (of course, the recordings, all stitched together with studio tweaking are a different matter).
      It hurts cos i really liked his youthful Chopin and wished him well. Now i hear fraud, burn-out and a “claque” of fans and critics who “are-slick” in their need to sell the product.

      • Robert Groen says:

        Sorry Paul, but did you come second to Trifonov in some competition or something like that? There’s envy and bitterness oozing from your every word. Memory lapses? At his age? Stitched-together studio recordings? Fraud? Imprisonment? Skimped, sketchy, shallow sound? And with all that incompetence you went to hear his Chopin Variations several times? Doesn’t quite ring true tio me. Anyway, do me the favour of listening to his live recording (no studo-stitching) of Beethoven’s op. 111. If you don’t find that revelatory (and your fellow keyboard lion Olassus clearly doesn’t think it is) then I give up.

        • Karen says:

          “If you don’t find that revelatory (and your fellow keyboard lion Olassus clearly doesn’t think it is) then I give up.”

          You have to be a bit more specific…Exactly what is revelatory about that performance? The things I dislike about him are still all there.

          I will say however that the sound of that video is exceptional, and I would venture to guess that that is what you are captivated by. But that is not the result of his pianism. For example, you can recognize the work of the same recording team from this live recording of Yuja Wang, also from Carnegie Hall:

          • Robert Groen says:

            Hello Karen, nice to hear from you. I understand that you’re a stickler for specifice. OK, I admit that I find it difficult to be very specific about why I was bowled over by Trifonov’s Beethoven op. 111. I just was, it drew me in, wouldn’t let me go and I found it totally wonderful. That may not have been the experience of all who heard it, but it was mine. It is sometimes difficult to explain why you’re captivated by something.
            Being specific is however, incumbent on those who criticize. You can love something without knowing why, but dislike something and you must have a reason. Our colleague Paul Davis (on this very thread) does just that and I respect him for it. My problem with his assessment of Trifonov (or at least Trifonov’s four desperate attempts at making something of Rachmaninov’s Corelli Variations (a neglected, misunderstood work although not entirely neglected by Rachmaninov himself, or Vladimir Ashkenazy (the recording in my possession), or Lazar Berman, or (surprise) the American prodigy, (where is he now?) Andre Watts, Nikolai Lugansky, Yeveny Morozov, Mikhail Pletnev and possibly a few others. I asdmit, before you get on to me, that I haven’t heard all of these. Not in concert, not even on record. I got (Paul will kill me) off YouTube. But I do have the Ashkenazy and I fancy many ogther people do as well. Actually, I apologize to Paul for talking to him through you, but that has to do with the nature of this thread. Back to the matter of specifics. I didn’t detect any of that when you sort of casually said (of the Trifonov Rachmaninov} “I hear nothing special in the recording compared to say, Andsnes’ recording of the same piece.” This left me very little the wiser, as did your unexpected outburst “But is he worse than Yannick?:” It took me some time to realize that this was a reference, not so much to Nezet-Seguin, rather to Antonio Pappano, whose accompaniment of Andsnes in the Fourth concerto didn’t quite irk you as something in the conducting of Trifonov’s version apparently did. Specific? Not quite. What was it that irked you? I’d like to know. My problem now is that Paul is a bit cheesed off with me, so I daren’t ask him wat potential shipwrecks were narrowly averted in the Pappano/Berezovsky version. As to Pappano himself, the poor man probably doesn’t know whether he is coming or going. Olassus: “Andsnes is badly let down by Pappano”. (Deep sadness)) You: “But is he worse than Yannick? I don’t remember him doing something in the Fourth that particularly irked me.” (Ah, things are looking up) Olassus: “Pappano isn’t really irksome (relief) he’s just mediocre, with weak rhythm..” (shit, I thought I was doing so well). Then, like the US Cavalry coming to the rescue, there’s Paul: “Pappano was fantastic in the 4th with Berezovsky” (Phew!). Now, as a simple music lover (although not of the internet, YouTube generation (I’m 77) I look up to all three of you as serious experts, compared to whom I know next to nothing. So help me out here. Which one of you is right?

          • Karen says:

            @Robert Groen: What irked me about Trifonov’s playing: 1. His technique is sometimes not quite sufficient for the repertoire he chooses. I hear more wrong notes in his live performances than I prefer from a young pianist. For example, the performance of Beethoven op.111 you referred to. 2. He doesn’t seem to be able to voice chords properly. This is especially irksome when he plays Rachmaninoff where frequently there are lines running through the middle of sequential chords. The result is a disjointed sequence of chords that sounds “bangy”. For example, the opening chords in the Rachmaninoff 4th I linked to. 3. He doesn’t expose or phrase the bass-line as much as I’d hoped. His left hand often simply disappears. For example, the way he played Chopin concertos in his last Chopin album. 4. He does not have a very strong sense of rhythm. There is a gruesome example on YouTube of him trying to play Petrushka. (Or was he constrained by his technique?) 5. Here you may feel differently, but in general he does not give me a sense of direction in his performances. He often sounds lost in the overall structure, either in a hurry to get over a particular section or slowing things down to near stasis. I feel little sense of “inevitableness”. Nothing feels just right or “it must be so”. This is the impression his performance of Beethoven op.111 left me with, for example.

            He is obviously a gifted pianist willing to explore unfamiliar repertoire, and that is always welcome. But I find the adjectives such as “greatest” or “genius” that are heaped on him completely overblown.

          • Olassus says:

            Well, I want to hear this Op. 111 of Trifonov’s.

          • Robert Groen says:

            OK Karen. Obviously, in the presence of so much knowledge and critical faculty I’m a bit out of my depth. I listen to music for enjoyment. Sometimes I find the music itself more important than the performer. When I hear two renditions of the same work (Beethoven’s op.111, again!) I can usually tell which one is the better played, even if I can’t always tell why that is. I go, therefore, by the amount of pleasure I derive from them. The impression I get from your good self and the admirable Paul is that listening to music for you, more often than not, is a kind of torture, full of irksome things, insults to the intelligence, incompetence, downright criminal flaws, no sense of rhythm, disappearing left hands, lost in the overall structure, blundering incompetence, self-aggrandizing pretension. Lighten up, Karen, live a little, enjoy the wash of beautiful sound that music can provide. Arthur Rubinstein, in his later years, tended to miss one in ten of the notes he played but it didn’t interfere with the flow of the music or my enjoyment of it. Oh, and when you next speak with Paul (possibly to scalpel another of Trifonov’s performances to shreds) remind him of what “politesse oblige” really means. It means not to dismiss a co-contributor to this site as a “mindless mass-worshipper of internut (sic) age and possessed of youtube-based ignorance”. His mask of civilization slipped badly there. Summing up: I’m not an infallible expert, just a man with a love of listening to music. You guys seem to prefer listening to yourselves.

        • Paul Davis says:

          No envy, no bitterness! Just a keen listener, (not a keyboard lion and no competitions either…i could even be a singer or cellist!). Having had an age-old regard for this-(for most of my life)- neglected, misunderstood work, and having heard as many as possible performances, i anticipated Trifonov’s with great excitement, having admired his early Chopin. The disappointment was drastic; i’ve already listed some of the faults, yes, memory lapses can happen at any age, and did…but the blundering incompetence was minor compared to his self-aggrandising pretension to “improve” on the composer’s idea, to repeat the Chopin c-minor theme at the end rather than choose either: peaceful homecoming or triumphant, jubilant victory, in C-major, (which he evidently can”t play!).
          I heard him four times at different European festivals, 1):keen to hear him, 2): invited by friends,(politesse oblige!), 3): invited by different friends, incredulous, (as yourself), that i didn’t join in the mass, mindless worship, 4): recently on the radio, live from an open-air festival near me! (i didn’t take the risk of going- or paying!)- curious to hear, three(?) years later whether he’d improved……(slightly better played now, but still with that criminal, fraudulent ending).
          Not rushing to hear his op 111, so…no comment.
          Hope that clarifies it for you.

  • RW2013 says:

    About time that someone apt champions the marvellous Rach 4 again (no, not forgetting Michelangeli), as Wang does with the Prok 5.

    • Robert Groen says:

      No problem with Michelangeli in Rach 4 (Is that really the only Rachmaninov(ff) concerto he recorded?) But there are others that are, to my mind, very good indeed. With so many sets of aal four concertos around it’s a bit weird to suggest that only one Fourth is worthy of serious consideration. Eresko, Ashkenazy, Lugansky, Orozco, they can all play a bit. And, of course, Rachmaninov(ff) himself. He doesn’t even get a mention. Funny that.

      • RW2013 says:

        Rachmaninoff himself goes without saying…
        I’m hearing Trifonov this week playing Bach, Stravinsky and Schnittke concerti.

      • Paul Davis says:

        To Robert Groen:
        Ah, now having read your other comments, i understand better, and realise it’s wasted time to discuss with you. Not only are you one of the mindless mass-worshippers, (Trifonov’s compositions….please spare us!), but you betray your internut-age, youtube-based ignorance, (Michelangeli’s other Rach-ordings…???), and any Rach follower would know why the composer’s own recording of his 4th rarely gets a mention; nothing “funny’ about it.

        • Robert Groen says:

          I’ve never heard Michelangeli live, Paul. I have his recording of Rachmaninov’s Fourth with Ettore Gracis, but have never been able to find any of the others. Does that make me a bad person? And, on another subject, have you bothered to listen to Trifonov’s own Piano Concerto? Yes, I found it on YouTube. So?

          • Paul Davis says:

            Hi Robert,
            Sorry for late reply but i’ve been on the road a few days, watching helplessly as the thread develops, unable to find the time, (or even a good internut connexion), to participate. This is just a brief note; i’ll write in more detail later. I like your sentiments on music, and what you said in correspondence with Karen and i take back my “uncivilized”, (true, i now rather regret that outburst!) description i applied to you.

            Just briefly, the Rach originally in discussion, (replying to James Kreger who found Trifonov “stunning”… no doubt the CD is…), was the Chopin Variations, not the Corelli Variations; there seemed to be some confusion there. Yes, i have the excellent Ashkenazy CD and have heard him play it in concert too! So no dispute there. I’ve no comment on Trifonov’s Corelli Variations…haven’t heard him in that.

            I’ll certainly have things to say about Denis Matsuev!
            Back soon!

          • Robert Groen says:

            Paul Davis: Glad to hear from you. Don’t give your “outburst” another thought. All us Slipped Discers have one thing in common: we’re all passionate about music to varying degrees and when passion rules, occasionally things boil over. Happens to me regularly. I look forward to further comments from you on any musical subject you like.
            My own utterances re Trifonov have been slightly devalued by a misread in the beginning of our exchange.As a result, I thought throughout our conversation that you were referring to the Corelli Variations. You can see, once I make up my mind there’s no shifting me. Apologies for that. I now look forward to reading your views on Denis Matsuev. Don’t be long!

          • Paul Davis says:

            Hi Robert,

            After our blustery start, i had a good laugh at your teasing reproach to Karen and myself:
            ….”The impression I get from your good self and the admirable Paul is that listening to music for you, more often than not, is a kind of torture, full of irksome things, insults to the intelligence, incompetence, downright criminal flaws, no sense of rhythm, disappearing left hands, lost in the overall structure, blundering incompetence, self-aggrandizing pretension. Lighten up….” – quite funny, and ther’s a lot of truth in that. This is the eternal problem of balance, knowing any subject too closely. I like to “listen blind” as often as possible to avoid prejudice; the other day switching on the car radio to an early work by Chopin, elegantly and brilliantly played…..Daniil Trifonov! (It was from his his own early performances).

            Part of the problem is when neglected music is mistreated, or botched: the Rach ChopinVariations for many years had NO available recordings and the first public performance i heard was dreadful, even aged fourteen i knew it. But everyone said: “it’s a poor piece.” Then i heard an overbearing, brutally brilliant performance, (Michael Ponti), everyone said: Yes, fantastic pianism, but poor music..” I wish Ashkenazy had played & recorded it in his prime, (too late when he did it later). James Kreger mentioned Jorge Bolet, his recording is beautiful, (too)sedate, with cuts and the peaceful coda…ok, fair enough, but Bolet’s public performance, even at half speed, was a sequence of blunders. Over the years it was a great frustration, so when DT programmed it i thunk: ok, a fine Chopinist and an honorable Rachmaninovian…should be fantastic. Honestly, i think DT overworked at that time, took too much on, sounded burnt out…he made such a mess that he got a complex about it, getting tripped up every time by something different, (Daniil Trip ‘n’ off…?), but his “idea” to “improve” the ending is disastrous. Imagine an alpinist, scaling his Everest up to nine-tenths, then just before reaching the summit, saying: “oh, i can’t be bothered, lets go back down and plant the flag at base camp..” -indeed Daniil Trips-enouff to tumble down to base, then lamely planting what’s left of his flag, a sort of “oh well, sorry, never mind..” Of course, none of this will bother the fans or the media circus, in fact, i could add my own contribution to the name transliteration debate in the light of today’s marketing:
            Search Richmoney ‘n’ off!

            Also, just to finish the “neglected noises” theme:
            Rach2 poorly played: “the pianist is poor”..(well-known piece).
            Rach ChopinVariations poorly played: “the music is poor”..(little-known).
            This is why certain composers, Medtner, for example, need extra special advocacy, too often lesser-known composers or works are blundered thru cos, “nobody will know the difference, and it doesn’t matter anyway.”

            Karen pinpointed better than i could have done, some of the faults that i now always, unfortunately hear in DT’s playing. He’s obviously a fine musician, likeable, user-friendly, (in this internut/media age), and no doubt will go on to better things. I’d certainly not place him among the “purely pianistic” greats right now, (if one compared him, just technically, to the young Kissin or young Gavrilov, for example, no comparison).

            On the subject of the Bear-is-off-his-key/Pappano Rach4: twas at the Proms four or five years ago(?), with the National Youth Orchestra. Boris sped off in all directions and this work is one of the notoriously dangerous for tempo changes, ensemble, etc. Pappano guided the band brilliantly, considering that these were relatively inexperienced players, however gifted. They also made me listen properly in the second half to a work i’ve always cordially detested, (more “torture”…!), Copland’s 3rd Symph. Mostly i’ve really liked Pappano’s work, either in opera or concert, but i know he has a claque against him. Haven’t heard the recordings under discussion so: no comment.

            The first times i heard Denis Madsuev i was unimpressed: bashy, noisy, perfunctory, peppered with lapses, blunders and simplifications when the going got tricky. At one wreck-it-all- sorry, recital, he terminated the Wreck-man ‘n’ off 2nd sonata, losing his way spectacularly and improvising a thunderous & blunderous, (is that what used to be meant by thud-and-blunder?) finish, provoking equally thunderous applause, the crowd Serge-ing to its feet. Amusingly, one of my good friends, sitting next to me, turned, and beaming enthusiastically said: “i bet you wish you could play like that!” I could give her no adequate answer. However, i have heard him play jazz and play jazzily and must admit that in his own way, he’s very talented, just limited in expressive scope.
            One very amusing event: Proms, (again), 2017: Mariinsky Orch/Gergiev: marvellous programme: Prok; “October” cantata, Tchaik 3rd concerto (Madsuev), Shost 5th. You may know that the RAH is not kind to soloists, usually swamped by the orch in the boomy acoustic: on steps Denis, orch starts up, Denis starts up, orchestra disappears, totally swamped by their massive soloist! Apart from the disappearing orchestra, it was an exciting performance, absolutely suited to his style and temperament, fast, loud, clearly articulote, thumping out the (tender, lyrical) second theme as if he wanted it to be heard in Moscow, (which may have been the case, as he’s one of Putin’s favorites!). Admittedly it’s not the best Tchaik, so not too much damage done. Very funny to see the poor bewildered orch slinking off to lick their wounds, but less funny when they returned for the worst Shost Filth, sorry Fifth, i’ve ever experienced, (yes Robert, more “torture”..), sloppy, skimpy, sub-standard in playing and interpretation.
            I did hear a video, (Youtube can also be Metube sometimes!), of Denis’s Tchaik 2, one of my Favorite Noises, but have a rather poor memory of it, (simplified passages, bashy, etc), as if he were plonking thru it for the first time. But that wasn’t recent and what you heard may well have been different; i’ll have to have another listen.

            Meanwhile, i’m off to lighten up a bit after recounting these sufferings and torture!

          • moonpavilion says:

            “Bolet’s public performance, even at half speed, was a sequence of blunders.” You don’t specify which performance. Do you mean every performance he gave of the work? Or are you referring, for example, to a recital in Amsterdam 1983 on Marston Records? By blunders, are you referring to technical slipups, errors of musical judgement? By ‘sequence’ are you implying one blunder after another in some profusion?

  • Karen says:

    I believe both concertos were recorded live in Philadelphia. Both were also broadcast already. The fourth is out there on YouTube, in fact:
    The uploader did not identify the orchestra and the conductor, but it is the same recording as the broadcast from Philadelphia in October 2015. What is in the recording is probably going to be a little different and contains a few patches here and there, but I don’t know.

    Frankly I cannot comprehend the overblown rhetoric expressed above. I hear nothing special in the recording compared to, say, Andsnes’s recording of the same piece.

    • Olassus says:

      Andsnes’ cycle is let down badly by Pappano (except for the live No. 2).

      Conductor is important!

      • Karen says:

        But is he worse than Yannick? I don’t remember Pappano doing something in the fourth that particularly irked me.

        Michelangeli’s recording is probably still the best.

        • Olassus says:

          Probably, but I haven’t heard the Trif/YNS No. 4 yet.

          Pappano isn’t really irksome. He’s just mediocre, with weak rhythm, and he ruins No. 3.

          Michelangeli/Gracis is phenomenal.

      • Paul Davis says:

        Haven’t heard the recordings, but am a bit surprose; Pappano was fantastic in the 4th with Berezovsky, (Bear-is-off-his-key), live, saving several potential shipwrecks and giving shape to the orchestral part. Maybe just the chemistry soloist/conductor? I’ll listen.

        • Robert Groen says:

          Hello Paul, Sorry we’ve come to blows over Daniil Trifonov and his less that ideal keyboard skills in the Corelli Variations. Now let me introduce you (if you don’t know him already) to another youngish Russian tickler of the ivories: Denis Matsuev. I’ve just listened to his Tchaikovsky 2 under Gergiev. Lots wrong with it, I expect, but I do value your opinion.

    • Paul Davis says:

      I haven’t heard Andsnes’ recording but his performance of Rach 4 at the 2017 BBC Proms with the Oslo Phil/Vassily Petrenko, was wonderful, several musician friends remarking that it was the first time they’d been convinced by the whole work, especially the problematic finale.

      Maybe Andsnes doesn’t come over so well on recording? Several friends have given various opinions; “boring….unexciting…” etc, but it turns out none of them have heard him in concert! I’ve heard few of his records but many recitals, chamber and concerto and find him one of the most enjoyable and satisfying artists. He also has form for Rachmanin-ove-(Andsnes!) at the Proms, having also played the 1st and 3rd, marvellously, (IMO). Going further back, Ove(r) twenty years, i think, he played a -for me, best imaginable Britten Concerto, particularly the astonishing voicing and “placing” of the “Impromptu” 3rd movement opening chords, (a passacaglia), truly bewitching and memorable.

      Of course, this is personal opinion, but so far, i’ve never been let down by an Andsnes performance.

  • Alexander Walker says:

    And to be fair Norman, these kind of carriages didn’t go out with shellac records on Rachmaninov’s beloved homeland….there us still a good deal of romance attached to train travel in Russia. But I get your point about the marketing.


      ….and, in reference to the discussion about transliteration above, I believe Rachmaninov preferred to spell his own name as Rachmaninoff, so I think this spelling is sometimes used in accordance with his wishes, but this is not really in keeping with current practice.

      • Bjarki says:

        The real point is is not just that he preferred Rachmaninoff and signed himself “Sergei Rachmaninoff”, but that before he died he became an American citizen and therefore “Sergei Rachmaninoff” became not just one of several possible transliterations of a Russian original but his official name. It also appears on his tombstone and is the only version accepted by the Rachmaninoff family.

  • Tian says:

    Trifonov is super sexy

  • rg says:

    Trifonov was already doing an awesome job of calling attention to great but neglected composers with his recordings, especially of Chopin and Liszt, and now Rachmaninoff. More pianists should play this music! Really, *all* pianists should play it, all the time!!!

    • Robert Groen says:

      RG (familiar initials!), are you suggesting that the likes of Chopin, Liszt and (now) Rachmaninov are “great, but neglected composers”? Hmm….I must listen to them a bit more often. Can’t do it, unfortunately, until more pianists play this music. Maybe one day all pianists will play it all the time. That’ll be a treat!

      • Paul Davis says:

        Of course, it’s possible that RG, (not you?…..!!) means well-known composers but little-known works. I remember Tchaikovsky being described as the “least known of the best known composers”…(or similar)..we kno R&Juliet Syms 4,5,6, vln conc, pno conc1…(etc etc), but few songs, operas, choral works, chamber…or even concs 2&3, ConcFantasy, Manfred….
        In Liszt’s case, we hear almost always the Same Noises, amongst a huge variety of genres & works, and for Rach, only in recent decades have…for example: the 1st Sonata, the Symphonic Dances, the 4th Concerto…started to make a real impression on concert/CD programmes.

  • Robert Groen says:

    OLASSUS, did you manage to have a listen to Trifonov in Beethoven’s op.111? I’m not playing games, I’m seriously interested in what you think.

  • Jonathan Cable says:

    I’m sorry, but I will not be participating in the general Trifonov adulation here. I heard him desperately trying to play Rachmaninoff 1, 2, 3 and Paganini in New York over the space of a couple of weeks, and to say I was unimpressed would be the understatement of the millenium. He couldn’t care less about what the orchestra was doing, completely ran away with the beginning of the second concerto, he was sloppy all around, awful tastelessness in the Paganini.
    As far as I’m concerned, the suit of great Rachmaninoff performers is still several sizes too big for Trifonov. I’m not sure he’ll ever grow into it.
    Oh, by the way: the composer himself spelled his name Rachmaninoff, for what it’s worth.

    • christopher storey says:

      “I’m sorry, but I will not be participating in the general Trifonov adulation here”

      Nor will I . Harshness and brutality are the impressions I have each time I am unfortunate enough to hear Trifonov. His technique is unquestionable, but that is not all that counts in the performance of music, and I do hope that this truth will gradually dawn on him as he matures