Classic CD. Rachmaninov

March 2000

very impressive playing from a born Rachmaninov interpreter

Rachmaninov: Morceaux de fantasie op.3, Sonata n.2 in Bflat minor op.36 (revised version), Variations on a theme of Corelli, op.42.
Oleg Marshev / DANACORD DACOCD 525 / 67:18 DDD

Oleg Marshev: shows a natural kinship with Russia’s greatest composer-pianist 

Oleg Marshev scored something of a triumph with his Prokofiev sonata cycle on the Danacord label some years ago both in these columns and elsewhere. He has also recorded the Rubinstein Third and Fourth concertos and the Strauss Piano Sonata for the same label. Listening to these Rachmaninov performances, there is no doubt that he is a player in the grand manner, as befits his Moscow training and subsequent career as a prize-winner at the Pilar Bayona Festival in Spain, in Cincinnati and the Prima Premio Assoluto in Rome in 1992. Of these two Rachmaninov recitals, his conveys the greater authority and the more natural kinship with the composer. His account of all three pieces can be ranked along with the best in the catalogue. He possesses a strong musical personality and commands a wide range of keyboard colour and dynamics.

The Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3, include the Polichinelle and the famous C sharp minor Prelude, and come off excellently though his performance of the Corelli Variations yields to Pletnev’s incomparable DG account on Rachmaninov’s own piano. Some allowances must be made for the recording, the venue is the Concert Hall at Sonderborg in Denmark, which does not do him full justice in fortissimo passages. But the dryish recording, if not ideal, is perfectly serviceable and should not put you off’ this fine disc. This is Rachmaninov playing of quality.

Robert Layton