Rachmaninov: Concerto No.1, Concerto No.4, Rhapsody

Disc Number:
Chesky Records CD 41, ADD

Sergei Rachmaninov:
Concerto No.4
Concerto No.1
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op.43
Earl Wild piano
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Jascha Horenstein conductor

Recorded Date:
Originally released in 1965, reissued in 1990
Charles Gerhardt
Kenneth Wilkinson

Pianist and conductor are strongly individual and make a notable partnership. There is no doubt of Wild’s mastery after his furious initial outburst in Concerto No.1’s Vivace and Wild is magnificent in the cadenza. Tempos are rather fast, and are even more so in Concerto No. 4 and the Paganini Rhapsody – the latter having in fact the speediest performance that I can recall. When presented like this, the Variations proliferate magically, suggesting a demonic, Paganini-like wizardry that is significant. Though composed before the Paganini Rhapsody, Concerto No. 4 is in fact more modern still. Wild and Horenstein have become my first choice. They catch superbly the breadth and impetus of the opening pages and among numerous other excellent features is the pianist’s lovely playing of the moderato section that begins four bars before figure 10 in the opening movement.

Max Harrison, London Musical Opinion, April 1991


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